More than 1,500 in Hanover, Westmoreland to receive free dental care
Individuals in Hanover and Westmoreland will receive three weeks of free dental care, starting today, courtesy of Great Shape! Inc and the Sandals Foundation, through the project '1,000 Smiles'.
The communities set to host the clinics include Greenland in Hanover and Grange Hill in Westmoreland during the period August 24-28; and Cave Valley and Grange/Kendal in Hanover as well as Grange Hill throughout August 31 to September 4 and September 7-11. All clinics will be open on Mondays to Fridays between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
"The Sandals Foundation is proud to have joined forces with Great Shape! Inc and work with this team of dedicated individuals to impact so many lives throughout the years with the '1000 Smiles' project," stated Heidi Clarke, director of programmes for the Sandals Foundation.
"This is a partnership that has grown with us since the foundation was established and we are pleased that this year, for the first time ever, we were able to expand the services beyond the shores of Jamaica and allow over 450 St Lucians the opportunity of accessing free dental care."
Joseph Wright, executive director of Great Shape! Inc, said that since his organisation and the Sandals Foundation/Sandals Resorts International partnered in 2003 to bring free dental care to communities in need, "amazingly, good things have happened. Lives have changed, smiles have been recreated, and friendships have been formed", adding that, for this year alone, the project is expected to reach over 7,000 individuals.
Interested persons may visit the clinics to sign up and benefit from the various services, namely, fillings, sealants, cleaning and extractions, which will be offered at the Greenland United Church and the Bell Isle Community Centre in Grange Hill during week one, and the Grange/Kendal Health Centre, Cave Valley Health Centre and the Belle Isle Community Centre in the second and third weeks of the project.
Diabetic and hypertensive patients are encouraged to ensure their condition is under control before accessing the dental services. Children under 16 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
The '1,000 Smiles' dental project is a 12-year-old partnership between the Sandals Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Sandals Resorts International and Great Shape! Inc, a US-based non-profit organisation. The partnership facilitates the provision of dental services in temporary clinics and oral hygiene workshops in schools and, so far, has seen over 150,000 persons accessing these services from communities in Hanover and Westmoreland as well as St Ann, St Mary, St James and Trelawny.
This year, over 1,500 persons will benefit from the services provided at the clinics in Hanover and Westmoreland.
Following the Hanover-Westmoreland leg, the team will provide services to persons in St Ann during the period September 18 to October 5, after which residents in Whitehouse, Westmoreland and surrounding communities will benefit from the dental clinic during the period November 6-23.
The Ministry of Health and the University of Technology are also partners in the programme and have provided technical expertise and other areas of support.
Over 400 persons from North America and Jamaica will form this year's team of volunteers under the '1,000 Smiles' project.