Hundreds of children from Lilliput and surrounding communities in St. James on August 29 benefited from free medical checks, which are required for the start of school on September 3.
At a health and information fair held on the grounds of the Lilliput New Testament Church of God, the children, some of whom will be attending school for the first time, received vaccinations, dental and optical checks, while some were examined by a cardiologist. Their medical forms were also completed for back-to-school.
The fair was staged by the Spanish-Jamaica Foundation in partnership with the Social Development Commission (SDC) under the theme: ‘A healthy start is the best start’.
The adults in attendance also benefitted from free blood pressure checks, and information and services from agencies such as the Registrar General’s Department (RGD), Ministry of Labour and Social Security, St. James Health Department/Type 5 Health Clinic, National Council on Drug Abuse, and City of Kingston (COK) Financials.
Spanish Ambassador to Jamaica and President of the Spanish-Jamaican Foundation, Her Excellency Celsa Nuno, told JIS News the fair is relevant and timely as parents make their final preparations for the start of the new school year.
She said that while the children received their health checks, the parents had the opportunity to “walk around to the different stalls/booths and acquire information on issues of importance such as dental health care, immunisation, full medical examination, social security, HIV/AIDS, and other critical issues."
Ambassador Nuno said she was pleased at the turnout and suggested that the event could become an annual affair.
She stated that the fair was among initiatives in health care being undertaken by the Spanish Government in Jamaica, citing the establishment of the Women’s Centre at the Spanish Town Hospital in St. Catherine.
"Health is the most fundamental of all human rights. If you do not have health, you cannot enjoy any other human right. I am very glad that we were able to make a connection through this work that we are doing today…and celebrate the excellent relations that exist between Spain and Jamaica," Ambassador Nuno said.
Community Development Officer at SDC, Carolyn Brown-James, also expressed pleasure at the support from the residents.
"The response has been great,” she said, noting that most of the students “came with their forms from the schools to get their medical filled out and that is essential, or else they would have to go to the clinics or to a medical doctor and this is taking away a lot of cost from the parents."
Lilliput resident, Marcia Saunders, thanked the organisers, noting that the fair was “a good thing for the community."
"I am happy for this programme and hope that we will see more of this for our area. I know that many parents will appreciate the savings from so many medical reports and checks done by these doctors and nurses for back-to-school,” she said.
Other agencies in attendance were: Hospiten Jamaica Ltd/MoBay Hope, MBJ Airports Ltd, Riu Hotels and Resorts, and Iberostar Hotels and Resorts.