St Ann MP dedicates 30 days to giving free school medicals
Since 2012, the St Ann North Western member of parliament, Dr Dayton Campbell, has been offering students free back-to-school medicals.
This year, Campbell, who is a medical doctor by profession, is dedicating 30 days throughout the summer holiday to seeing students before they go to school for the upcoming term.
With the lack of access to certain resources in some area, Campbell said that this was one issue that he has been tackling since he became member of parliament.
"As far as I can remember, as a child, having to get up from before dawn trying to reach the hospital to get an early ticket to do the medical. I figure seeing that I am a medical person that I could travel to the different communities and to attend to these constituents free of charge," he told THE STAR.
By offering free medicals, he is hoping to help parents save time and money that could be spent on other aspects of their children's education as he and his team visits 30 communities during the summer months
"Several parents in rural Jamaica have three, four, five children that's going to school, and they all require medical.
Persons can spend an average $1,500 per medical for three or four children, so it is a meaningful way of trying to assist the constituency because the persons can then use those funds to purchase some textbooks for the children so that they can get a proper education," he explained.
THE FIRST YEAR
After seeing approximately 800 persons in the first year, he estimates that the initiative, which targets from early-childhood students up to those attending tertiary institutions, assists more than 1,500 persons each year.
"Even the caregivers who work in the early-childhood facility come and get their medicals done as well. The towns tend to be bigger where you have greater density in population. When you go on the outskirts, you might see about 30 or 40, it averages out to about 50 per day for the 30 days," Campbell said.
With the help of volunteers, he said that he intends to continue offering free medicals.
"As long as I am there, I will do it because it doesn't cost the country anything for me to do it. I take care of the staff and the equipment, and the material for the medical is out of pocket. Currently, I am the doctor, so we don't have to try and compensate a doctor," he said.