THE SHIPPING Association of Jamaica (SAJ) last Wednesday officially launched a community outreach clinic for residents of the inner-city community of Greenwich Town in Kingston. The clinic, which is staffed with a doctor and registered nurse and operates second and fourth Wednesdays of the month, has been in operation since January this year, benefiting nearly 400 persons to date. Services are provided free of cost to the beneficiary.
Minister of Health, John Junor, declared the facility opened during a dedication ceremony at the Fourth Avenue location of the Shipping Association from where the clinic operates. In his comments, the Minister commended the SAJ for being a "good corporate citizen", while suggesting the Association could consider expanding the services to include screening for HIV/AIDS and pap smears.
Giving an overview of the project, the SAJ President, Grantley Stephenson, said the Association wanted to make on impact on the health of residents in the Greenwich Town area.
"We are pleased to be involved in this worthwhile project, which will strengthen the social fabric of the community and promote the wellness of our people. This facility will impact positively on the lives of more than 3,000 residents of Greenwich Town area, as well as SAJ pensioners," he said.
The clinic, prepared at a cost of $2 million, is housed in a refurbished 45-foot container. It is air-conditioned with adequate space for the two medical professionals, and boasts a kitchenette and rest room, an examination couch, weighing devices and equipment for testing blood sugar levels and blood pressure.
It can also accommodate modern technology and equipment for dentistry.
So far, the President said medical complaints reviewed include respiratory and gastric conditions, hypertension, eye problems, and diabetes, among others. Referrals are also made to secondary and tertiary health institutions and patients also receive a limited supply of over-the-counter-drugs free of cost. Beneficiaries, most of whom are women, have been assisted to obtain Drug for the Elderly cards to benefit from discounted medication under the Jamaica Drug for the Elderly Programme, administered by the Ministry of Health.
In his charge to the residents, Mr. Stephenson declared: "I want to encourage, you, to be cognisant of your role in making this facility withstand the test of time and continue to benefit the community for many years to come. Let us work in partnership to maintain this facility and strengthen the ties that now bind us, and most importantly, I urge you to strive to make Greenwich Town a model community".
Adding her words of praise, Portia Simpson Miller, Local Government, Community Development and Sports Minister and Member of Parliament for West Central St. Andrew, thanked the SAJ for establishing the clinic. She suggested that some consideration be given to acquiring a mammography machine to serve a wider cross-section of women in the western belt of St. Andrew.