First Look

Food For The Poor Stages Free Health Fair in the West - Hundreds Benefit

PROComm | 2012-05-11 08:27:00

Following closely on the heels of a health fairthat offered free medical services to over 2,000 individuals in Kingston, Food For The Poor(FFP)-Jamaica has once again demonstrated its commitment to healthcare by staging a similarexercise at the March Town Health Centre in Cave Valley, Hanover.

More than 500 residentsbenefited.Now in its fifth year, the FFP health fair offered free access to a range of medical services,including dental and medical examinations, foot care for the elderly, blood pressure and bloodsugar checks, reflexology treatment and nutritional counselling.The Cave Valley event was organized recently by Food For The Poor’s Western Committee. Thisgroup was established in 2003 to adequately determine the needs of the poor in the westernregion.

Based on investigations, it was discovered that many residents in rural communitieshad little or no access to proper primary health care services. As a result, since 2008, thecommittee has been organizing health fairs to help deal with this challenge.“FFP’s aim is to provide medical interventions in remote and needy communities such as CaveValley, where residents do not have easy access to health care services.

This forms part ofour overall mission to enhance public health and improve patient care in Jamaica,” said Mrs.Hyacinth Lindo, Administrator for the Western Committee.Mrs. Lindo added that many residents travel long distances to the nearest clinic, which can bequite expensive. “Our annual health fair gives these residents access to quality medical servicesat little or no cost to them,” she pointed out.Other organizations that volunteered their time and services at the event included the St.James Health Services (Nutrition Department), Registrar General’s Department (RGD), NationalHealth Fund, Children of Faith, and Police Officers from the Hanover Community Safety andSecurity Division.

A help-desk also was set up to provide information on how residents couldaccess the general services offered by Food For The Poor.Marlene Taite, a 39-year-old single mother of three, said that the health fair was a timelyblessing. “As an unemployed mother of three, a health fair of this nature is of great helpbecause, while it’s important to visit the doctor often, many times I cannot afford it,” sheexplained. “Today, my children and I were able to do a series of medical examinations free ofcost. I just want to say thanks to Food For The Poor. This is a good thing that is happening to thecommunity of Cave Valley.”

The team of volunteer medical personnel included three doctors, a paediatrician, a dentist, fivenurses, three foot-care specialists and two reflexologists.Each participant at the health fair also received a complimentary gift package containing basicfood items and toiletries, courtesy of Food For The Poor.FFP’s Western Committee comprises 16 members, and operates out of the Blessed SacramentCathedral in Montego Bay. Its primary functions include assessing housing and other requestsreceived by Food For The Poor from residents in the western region, monitoring projects,making recommendations for assistance and distributing specific items such as food andclothing.Food For The Poor (FFP)-Jamaica organizes two health fairs per year.

The western region eventfollows the health fair that is held annually in Kingston at Our Lady of the Poor Clinic, a facilityoperated by Food For The Poor and housed at the St. Joseph’s Hospital in Vineyard Town.


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