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Help Jamaica - US medical team gives free service to thousands of Jamaicans

Published:Sunday | September 20, 2015 | 9:00 AMRasbert Turner
Dr Robert Clarke (right) of the Help Jamaica Medical Mission speaks with one of the many persons who turned out for free health care in St Catherine recently.

More than 2,000 residents in Red Pond, Point Hill, Kitson Town, Central Village and neighbouring communities in St Catherine recently benefited from free medical treatment, courtesy of the Help Jamaica Medical Mission.

The group is made up of medical practitioners out of New Jersey in the United States, with most having Jamaican background.

"We treated persons with eye disease, heart problems, diabetes, hypertension, and other illnesses," said Dr Robert Clarke.

He told The Sunday Gleaner that the mission was formed in 1996 out of a desire to help those in need of health care but cannot afford it.

"I was born in Enfield district, St Mary, and realised from early that health care is one of Jamaica's problems. We were part of the Caribbean Health Mission but decided that we must give back to Jamaica, so each year we do fundraising and also spend our own money to be here," explained Dr Rudolph Willis.

He said members of the mission have determined that lifestyle illnesses, such as diabetes, are the most common medical problems for many Jamaicans.

"The type of food the persons eat resulted in too much fat, then the rest is problem," added Willis.

WORKED FEVERISHLY

During the visit, the team of 20 doctors worked feverishly to assist persons spanning all age groups who attend the health fairs.

Patients who suffered from eye diseases were tested and fitted with prescribed glasses, while others were referred for surgery.

"I suffer from hypertension and, right now, I feel real good to know that the medication is for free. I can now try to abide by the proper diet and exercise as the doctor ordered," said Leon Black, one of the many persons treated by the medical team.

Several persons supported Black as he described the visit of the medical team as a blessing.

"This is truly a great gesture by these medical practitioners who lock up their offices to be here each year. This is a real blessing," said Mayor of Spanish Town Norman Scott.