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Doctors provide free medicals through pledge-funded #MobileMedicalsChallenge

Published:Saturday | August 22, 2020 | 12:14 AMJamila Litchmore/Special Projects and Engagement Editor
The Mobile Medicals Jamaica team at the Nest Children’s Home (from left): Kayla Jeffery, Krishana Atkinson, Dr Lattisha Kerr, Dr Jade Jeffery, and Dr Kaydeen Dietrich with Food For The Poor’s Craig Moss-Solomon (second right).

Mobile Medicals Jamaica is no stranger to unlikely beginnings.

The mobile medical outfit started in July of this year when young doctors Dr Jade Jeffery and Dr Yendi Buckeridge found themselves without permanent employment contracts. The initiative started out as a short-term venture, but very quickly became a full-fledged endeavour.

“We were unemployed at the time and we realised we didn’t have a physical office, but we definitely had gas in our cars. We didn’t have a physical location, but we had our knowledge. We had equipment that we went out and bought,” Dr Jeffery told The Gleaner.

With Kingston and St Andrew covered, Dr Buckeridge and Dr Jeffery brought batchmate Dr Lattisha Kerr on board for the Portmore locations, and a healthcare company was born.

“It just got far very fast,” said Dr Jeffery of a post she had made on her personal Twitter account introducing users to the service. “We just made this one post and, by the end of the night, we had over 1000 retweets and over 100 followers on our Instagram page as well.”

Just as their business took off with a tweet, the group’s #MobileMedicalsChallenge, where individuals and organisations pledge to fund medicals for children across Jamaica, started with social media.

Having been contacted by the Bloom Jamaica Foundation, which offered to sponsor five children for free medicals, Dr Jeffery challenged Twitter users to match the request. That challenge was met with a flood of pledges.

“Within [those] four hours, we had 200. Then by the next week, we had 250. Everything just happened very fast,” shared Dr Jeffery.

“And it just kept coming in,” added Dr Kerr with a laugh.

Some donors specified a school, others just wanted to pledge. Soon they had more pledges than recipients and they again turned to social media, putting out a message letting users know that they wanted to give away 100 medicals.

Food For The Poor – Jamaica reached out and took up all the available medicals.

On Saturday, August 15, the group headed to the Nest Children’s Home where they offered free medical check-ups to 74 students, on behalf of Yardworks Construction Company Limited and NSC Properties. The two title sponsors pledged most of the donated medicals for the day.

With the assistance of Food For The Poor – Jamaica, the doctors catered to children from the Nest, Elsie Bemand Girls’ Home and Anne Dawson Children’s Home.

It is an endeavour which Food For The Poor says they are happy to be involved with.

“When it comes to a person wanting to volunteer to help the youth in terms of giving away free medical exams, it was important for us to be involved,” said Craig Moss-Solomon, director of Food For The Poor – Jamaica. “[If] doctors are willing to give of their time in order to allow students to not have to pay to get medical exams, that’s a great drive for us [and] a great initiative for us to partner with them.”

They are hoping to participate in more mobile medical challenges in the future.

“If the doctors are willing to come back next year and do more, we’re willing to work with them and grow it to as high a height as they are willing to do it,” said Moss-Solomon.

As for Mobile Medicals Jamaica, not only are they looking to grow the new business, they are also looking to keep the challenge going.

Noting that the group has a responsibility to the communities they serve, she says many Jamaicans have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and that the challenge really aims to “get children back to school”.

“There [are many people] in Jamaica who [have] no idea how they were going to send their kids back to school, how they were going to get things going, put food on the table. We realised that apart from our personal responsibility, we have a responsibility to the community that we serve,” said Dr Jeffery.

To date, the #MobileMedicalsChallenge has helped more than 200 students and conducted back-to-school medicals at Dalvey Primary in St Thomas; God’s Little Angels in Spanish Town; SOS Children’s Village, in conjunction with the Lions Club of St Andrew, and Charles Chin-Loy Basic School.

To learn more about Mobile Medicals Jamaica, visit @mobilemedicalsja on Instagram or call 876-476-1674 or 876-540-0860 for Kingston and St Andrew and 876-491-6253 for Portmore. Have a good story you’d like to share? Email us at goodheart@gleanerjm.com.