A united mission for health care in Clarendon
Last Friday, residents from communities such as Bucknor, Western Park, Pleasant Valley, Palmer's Cross and other areas enjoyed the free services of a medical team from the United States at the Kids Campus Outreach Foundation on Manchester Avenue in Clarendon.
The outreach - a joint effort between the foundation and its hosts, pastor Ann Marie Richards and Pamela Stephenson of Jamaica Awareness Association of California - saw more than 150 patients, including children, being attended to.
The team comprised medical doctors, dentists, paediatricians, surgeons and a nutritionist.
Stephenson told Rural Xpress that it was the first time the mission had been to Clarendon, as they mainly focused on St Mary and Portland.
"Our interest was aroused after listening to a heartfelt appeal from Richards as she spoke about what she was doing. That's when we made the decision that we would be involved," shared Stephenson.
Stephenson, who has been involved with the Jamaica Awareness Association of California for the past 18 years, said her motivation to keep going is derived from the utter satisfaction she gets from the results of going into the deep rural communities of the island.
She also had nothing but praise for the dedicated members of her team who are from various states in America, and with the dental team coming from the Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee.
Richards, who is fondly referred to in the area as 'mother of over 32', has seen her foundation positively impact many lives in the parish.
"It was a real opportunity to partner with persons who have the same vision. They have the passion for trying to help Jamaicans that need it [the services]," she said.
The patients who benefited from the services were gathered with the help of the Clarendon Parish Development Committee, who went into the various areas to mobilise those who needed the help.
Seeing the great need, Richards said it pains her heart that she cannot afford to give "round the clock" medical services free of cost to the sick.
"My dream is to create a space that is not just a one-day help. I am looking to team up with people who have the same passion," she said, adding that the hope is to have a team available at least 12 times for the year. "We can change lives," she said.