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Church health fair helps elderly citizens

Published:Monday | February 22, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Nedburn Thaffe, Gleaner Writer

"It's a wonderful thing they are doing. Dem should have it every day and twice on Sunday," joked 65-year-old Wilfred Davis, who was among scores of residents who took part in a community health fair in Sydenham Park, Spanish Town, St Catherine, on Saturday.

The health fair was an initiative of the Oneness Apostolic Assembly of Jesus Christ, situated in the Spanish Town enclave. Persons from the Heart Institute of the Caribbean, Heart Foundation of Jamaica, and the Foundation for International Self-Help (FISH), were on hand to administer the different tests, give treatments and make referrals.

Davis, who was among scores of elderly persons sitting patiently in a waiting area, told
The Gleaner
he was made aware of the health fair by a friend, and could not give up the opportunity to benefit from the day's affair.

"I am here to get my blood pressure and diabetes checked. I am going to see the doctor now fi find out if mi have nuh more complaint," he said, adding that he was hoping for a full-body check-up from the doctor.

The senior citizen disclosed that he was particularly grateful for the health fair, as it helped him save the money he would normally spend on taxi fare to make the trek to the Spanish Town Hospital to have his blood pressure and diabetes tests done.

"When mi have the money mi normally go to the doctor, but mi not working now so it kind a difficult fi find the taxi fare," he lamented.

More people than expected

Optician assistant Kenese Augustine was taking her break when
The Gleaner
caught up with her. She said she had attended to more than 26 patients already, and added that her colleague, who was sitting nearby, had attended to far more than she had.

"We came here to see only 50 patients, but we have way more than that," she said. She added that a number of the patients needed treatment for cataracts and glaucoma, while the majority were in need of refraction lenses. Those who needed treatment for cataracts and glaucoma were referred to an ophthalmologist, while those in need of refractions were referred to an optometrist.

Medical doctor Arun Athithan said more than 30 per cent of the patients needed treatment for hypertension. He encouraged persons to start paying attention to healthy lifestyle practices.

Yvonne Dixon, pastor of the Oneness Apostolic Assembly of Jesus Christ, who was responsible for staging the event, said the health fair was the church's way of having a positive impact on the community. She added that the church was strategically placed in the inner-city community to make a difference in the lives of those in the surrounding areas.

"Our mission is geared towards meeting the financial and spiritual needs of persons, and this is just one way in which the church is making a positive impact," she said.