Sunday 23 February, 2020

400 residents benefit from Food for the Poor health fair in Kingston

Residents received several free services including blood sugar checks, medical and dental exams, eye screening and HIV testing.

Residents received several free services including blood sugar checks, medical and dental exams, eye screening and HIV testing.

A pensioner received medication that she otherwise would not be able to afford. A child got help with a painful tooth. A mother learned tips on good nutrition for her family. A senior citizen obtained new eyeglasses.  

These are some of the ways Food For The Poor-Jamaica’s annual Health Fair, in Kingston, assisted needy Jamaicans, thanks to generous overseas donors and local partners.

An estimated 400 patients were served this year.

The Our Lady of the Poor Clinic at St Joseph’s Hospital bustled with activity on April 13 as residents took advantage of free services, including dental checkups, sight screening, testing and referrals, medical examinations and HIV testing. The clinic was founded by FFP-Jamaica in 2004.

Susan Moore, Director of Recipient Services at FFP-Jamaica, said donations form an important part of the charity’s health outreach. She praised the important role of Jamaican partners that support the fair each year.

“Medicines, medical equipment and supplies are allocated to areas that are serving the poor, whether it is the public health system, nongovernmental organizations, churches or service clubs,” Moore said.

A team from the Lions Club of New Kingston conducted eye screening, referring patients to other clinics or doctors if there was a need.

Biomedical Lab conducted blood tests at the fair, including free tests to detect prostate cancer. Jamaica AIDS Support for Life provided confidential, free HIV tests. Dentists examined adults and children and performed exams and cleanings.

One father, Troy Walker, was extremely grateful.

“This is a one-in-a-million service,” Walker said, adding he was teaching his eight-year-old son who was getting a checkup that “cleaning his teeth is good hygiene.”

The Fire Brigade of Jamaica talked to residents about safety issues and Jamaica Red Cross gave First Aid demonstrations. A nutritionist also spoke to residents about eating healthy.

Corporate sponsors included Island Grill, which served hot soup, and Wisynco, which provided cold drinks. Food also was donated by FFP-Jamaica officials.

Moore said the fair helped identify several cases that could be considered emergencies.

“Thankfully, they have been checked by nurses and have gone in to see the doctors. Afterwards, they received a number of medications that are either donated by our kind overseas donors or by local donors who came on board,” Moore said.

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