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JIS News

Approximately 3,000 persons from across western Jamaica have been beneficiaries of a three-day health clinic, which took place at the St. John’s Methodist Church Hall, on Humber Avenue, Montego Bay from October 9 to 11.
The health clinic, an annual event for the last 13 years, is staged through the Montego Bay/Atlanta sister city programme, which came about by the twinning of both cities approximately 34 years ago.
Honorary Consul for Jamaica in Atlanta and co-Chairman of the Montego Bay/Atlanta sister cities committee, Vin Martin, told JIS News that Atlanta has “sister city” relationship with approximately 18 other cities around the world, adding that the Atlanta/Montego Bay relationship began in 1972. He pointed out that the health mission has grown tremendously since its inception.
“We started this health mission in 1993, and we are currently at the stage of the 13th such mission. On our first mission, we saw about 600 patients. Currently, we are seeing between 2,800 and 3,200 patients,” Mr. Martin noted.
“So, over the life of the programme, we have treated more than 32,000 patients by the interaction we have had with the city of Montego Bay,” he added.
Mr. Martin told JIS News that all workers on the health mission were volunteers. Of the 39 such persons participating in this year’s health mission who arrived in the island from the USA, 20 are doctors, eight are nurses and the remainder are non-medical personnel. He said that local volunteers also included doctors, nurses and non-medical personnel.
“The patients are examined initially, and if there is need for medication, and we have the medication with us, we would give them either two or three months supply. We also have a relationship with the Cornwall Regional Hospital where, if there is a problem, we can refer the patients,” Mr. Martin explained.
“Let me add that we also have local doctors who join us every day, in one or the other of the disciplines. They will take two or three hours out of their schedule to be with us,” he said.
Mr. Martin had high praise for the co-operation of the Government, through the Ministry of Health, in facilitating the health mission.
Meanwhile, Public Relations Consultant and volunteer with the Montego Bay branch of the sister city association, Clinton Pickering, told JIS News that the successful implementation of the health mission took a whole year of planning, adding that planning for the 2007 event would begin next week.
He informed that those who benefited from the health mission were from several parishes. “As the word spreads about the event, more and more persons from other parts of the island are making the journey to Montego Bay during the period of the event,” he said.