Sixty persons who suffer from the lifestyle disease, diabetes, and who live in Montego Bay and its environs, in St. James, benefitted from a mini Health Mission, staged by the St. James Parish Council and the Atlanta Health Mission, at St. John’s Methodist Church Hall, on June 16.
Persons attending the health mission were pre-selected for special treatment, by the St. James Health Department and were also adequately educated on the basics of the disease as well as about prevention and care.
The Health Mission team from Atlanta, including an Ophthalmologist and one Dietician, was led by Honorary Consul in Atlanta, Vin Martin.
Speaking in an interview with JIS News, Mr. Martin said the objective of the health mission had shifted to focus on specific health concerns.
Doctors and their attendants at work during the Montego Bay/Atlanta Health Mission, at the St. John’s Methodist Church Hall, in Montego Bay, St. James on June 16.
Some 60 patients were seen over the two-day period, by a five-member health team from Atlanta.
“We are now looking at going in a different direction, as this mission, in particular, is to do a ‘dry run’, where diabetes is the focus. We are trying to determine if there is a way for us to deliver specific health services targeting specific patients in a way that is more holistic. Before the two-day sessions, we spent some two hours having all our doctors speak to all those gathered and explained to them the relationship between their eyes, their food intake and their feet and diabetes,” Mr. Martin explained.
“We have, over the past 15 years, seen some 33,000 patients, and even though we have had those large numbers, we believe that this health mission has seen us making the greatest impact on the lives and health of all those we have seen so far,” he said.
He pointed out that patients have demonstrated a greater level of understanding about their health and would be more careful about what they eat, how they sleep and their exercise programme.
“People will definitely move to the next level, where they will, hopefully, make changes that will be long lasting and that will provide them with the quality of life that all of them would like to have,” Mr. Martin said.
Volunteer health worker, Merah Salmon (right), from the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, registering a patient at the Montego Bay/Atlanta Health Mission at the St. John’s Methodist Church Hall in Montego Bay, St. James, on June 16. Some 60 patients were seen over the two-day period, by a five-member health team from Atlanta.
Chairperson of the Montego Bay Chapter of the Atlanta/Montego Bay Sister Cities Committee, Mettie Scarlett-Jones, emphasised the importance of the educational component of the health mission.
“We believe that our people (with this lifestyle disease) need education, as the cure for diabetes is self care. We are therefore, in this health mission, teaching patients how to take care of themselves as diabetics,” Mrs. Scarlett-Jones told JIS News.
She is urging all diabetic patients to take charge of their health, by taking their medication on time, being careful about what they eat, and doing their exercises.