St Mary residents get free medicals from Zion Care International
Carl Gilchrist, Gleaner Writer
A medical mission organised by Zion Care International in New York, completed a two-day, free medical tour at the Bellfield clinic near Highgate in St Mary on Tuesday. Hundreds of residents from several communities in the parish benefited.
The team, led by Bishop Craig Brown, included eight dentists and 10 medical doctors.
In hailing the service offered by the team that paid their own fares and accommodation in order to deliver the medical care, Brown said this is the way the church should operate.
"This is the work of the church, not investing in monuments, but to invest in the community through community-based service," Brown told Rural Xpress.
"This mission, I think in its simplicity, is what Christ would want; to spend more on these community-based projects than to be building these monuments."
"God is present in a tent just as He is in a building and if we invest more in the human capital, I think we will get a lot more out of it. This church is consistent with the teachings of Christ," he declared.
Last year at the Alexandria Hospital, apart from providing medical and dental care, the team provided beds and equipment for the institution.
MEDICAL AND DENTAL CARE
This week, the team offered medical and dental care in several areas, including extractions, filling, cleaning, examinations, filling of prescriptions, diagnoses, and referrals to the eye doctor.
In addition, two doctors were deployed to visit the estimated 14 shut-ins across the parish.
"This is the work of God; there is no greater honour than to serve the underserved among us and that's why I am baffled when I see these huge churches and I know that there are people out there who need financial support," Brown stated.
"Some may say that's not the role of the church, but if I am hungry, I cannot listen, because I cannot concentrate. So the idea of just looking to deal with the spiritual side of it is redundant.
"You have to deal with the spiritual, the emotional, the financial and the physical, the whole body, that's what we're interested in. And I would encourage the local clergy to reinvest in getting in the community and give service."
Brown also spoke of plans to establish a state-of-the-art dental facility in the parish at a later date.
Special mention was made of assistance given by Jamaica Money Market Brokers and member of parliament for South East St Mary, Dr Winston Green.
"It went very, very well," Green said. "Persons from the community helped organise the whole thing. I've not done a check of the numbers, but we've seen quite a lot of patients."
In typical Jamaican fashion for rural folks, team members were shown appreciation through the presentation of food items such as breadfruit and sugar cane.
One resident, Jennifer Thomas, who brought her daughter to do medical for back to school was happy for the service offered.
"It's good," she simply said.