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February 9, 2013
Star News


 

Residents thankful for health fair

Tightly gripping the hands of Dr Roy Street, head of the Organisation for Development/The Source Savanna-la-Mar, Brian Brown with tear-filled eyes muttered a dozen 'thank yous' as best he could, for one who just had his wisdom tooth extracted.

Brown had been suffering for months with a wisdom tooth that he soaked nightly with a rum-filled cotton wad, because he was unable to pay his dentist the $20,000 it would cost for the extraction. Brown, who waited for hours in line to see the dentist, was determined that he would not let this chance of having his tooth removed, at no cost, pass him by.

His is one of the stories of gratitude from the hundreds of persons who visited The Source Savanna-la-Mar/Organisation for Develop-ment Health Fair held, over two days, at the community resource centre's Barracks Road location recently.

The Source Savanna-la-Mar is the fifth community-based social enterprise established by the Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) Foundation in partnership with several private sector and community-based organisations delivering, among other things, social services such as the health fair, to persons in underserved communities across the island.

OID, a team of medical professionals from the United States of America, has visited rural Jamaica twice annually for the past 23 years. The team of 26 medical personnel included doctors, ophthalmologists, dentists, gynaecologists, paediatricians, pharmacists and nurses.

For Carmen Williams, who brought her children to see the 'eye doctor,' and to get medical assistance, it was a relief from the expenses of buying asthma pumps and the filling of prescriptions.

"My daughter has been complaining about pain in her eyes for some time; however, I was not able to take her to see the eye doctor since I could not afford the cost, so I thank God for the health fair. I was able to get her eyes tested, as well as mine; and, we received free eye drops and glasses, since I also had an eye problem and was not able to replace the glasses," Williams stated.

Centre Administrator of the Source Savanna-la-Mar, Julien Pringle, was overwhelmed by the turnout.

"I was a bit apprehensive when I came and saw the crowd waiting with some saying they were waiting from 5:30 a.m. Thanks to team of Act!on Jamaica volunteers from the JN Foundation, we were able to keep the crowd controlled. The number of persons who came to the centre for the fair is the largest yet to pass through The Source. We estimate that we examined and treated about 1,000 persons over the two days," Pringle added.

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