Approximately 1,200 citizens of St. James benefitted from free health services, including dental, optical and pre-natal care, at the 16th annual Atlanta/Montego Bay Sister Cities health fair held from October 5 to 7.
More than 26 health professionals including dentists, ophthalmologists, gynaecologists, paediatricians, podiatrists and general practitioners, and a team of volunteers participated in the three-day event held at the St. John’s Methodist Church Action Centre in Montego Bay.
Jamaica’s Honorary Consul to Atlanta and Chairman of the Atlanta Chapter of the Atlanta/Montego Bay Sister Cities Committee, Vin Martin, hailed the health fair as “a great success.”
He commended the medical team and volunteers from Jamaica and abroad, for the “tremendous sacrifices they have collectively made to the overall success of the health mission.”
“Each of our physicians, our nurses and other volunteers,” he said, “close their offices or take vacation from their offices at their own cost, which includes covering their hotel and air fares, to come into the island to offer service to the people in need of medical attention. I am very proud to state that this health mission is truly a 100 per cent voluntary effort on the part of those who are members of our great team.”
American eye physician and surgeon, Dr. Jerry Kirby (R), attends to a patient during the 16th staging of the Montego Bay/Atlanta Sister Cities health mission held yesterday (Oct.6) the St. John’s Methodist Church Action Centre in Montego Bay.
He noted that over the 16 year history of the event, some 35,000 patients have been treated and provided with medicine and other related services free of cost, saving the country millions of dollars in health care cost.
“Everything here is delivered free of cost to the patients. The services are free, the medication that we have brought in is free, the eye glasses are free, the extractions done by our dentists are free,” he said, while noting the invaluable support of the St. James Parish Council.
Medical Director of the Montego Bay/Atlanta Health Mission, Dr. Deborah Haynes, said that in addition to providing treatment, the medical team has sought to educate patients to increase their awareness and knowledge about their health conditions and how to live a healthy lifestyle.
“I therefore think that awareness has been greatly improved among persons we have seen over the years. People have become more conscious about eating well, exercising and being in greater control of themselves and their health,” Dr. Haynes told JIS News.
The health mission coincided with the one-week Montego Bay city status celebrations from October 2 to 9.