Rain! Wind! Fog! …were the only words which could be used to describe the day when the Mobile Clinic from the Manchester Health Department in collaboration with the Red Cross of Jamaica and Projects Abroad Jamaica, rolled in the community of Alligator Pond. The quiet fishing community, approximately 40 minutes drive from Mandeville, was the main target on Friday, November 13, 2009.
This community; like so many others have individuals who suffer from varied chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma, and heart disease, illnesses seen mainly among the elderly. However the issue of under-vaccination for infants and lack of proper maternal care are also of concern.
The health team, including medical volunteers, was well-equipped to provide health checks and information. These included blood pressure testing, diabetic checks, vaccines for children, HIV Rapid Test, HIV/STDs information and how to use condoms (male and females).
On entering the mobile clinic, a woman in her mid 40s said “Mi sick, so mi cum fi get some help - a two week now mi a cough”. In the meantime, a little girl sat quietly waiting for her vaccination. After registering the woman, the nurse referred the “patient” to the “doctor” for further examination. This “doctor” was Elisa Combe, final year medicine student, who was volunteering with Projects Abroad Jamaica for one month at the Mandeville Regional Hospital. She displayed professionalism and was eager to help when she was asked by the nurse to assist the woman who complained of chest pain and coughing. “Doctor” Elisa took a brief medical history from the patient, listened to her lungs and heart and eventually recommended further tests and happily called her next “patient”. This young boy aged about 9 complained of wrist pain which seemed “sprained. “Doctor” was kept busy as right after an elderly woman came. After checking her blood pressure, she was immediately sent for a talk with “Doctor”. The soft-spoken old woman said “A di pink an white tablets mi tek, but mi na hab none now”. A look of despair overshadowed the doctor’s face, as she realized how unconcerned the elder woman appeared - she was oblivious of the danger which can be caused by this high blood pressure reading. “Doctor” Elisa explained to her the critical nature of her condition and told her to see the doctor who will visit on Tuesday.
Volunteers: Marike Wisman, (pre-med) Kristina Bader (pre-med)and Gianin Wuethrich
(Nurse) were also present and very prepared to give talks on H1N1 influenza, maternal care and hygiene and nutrition for toddlers and mothers to be. However the presentations were not realized as the turn out due to weather was a bit low, nevertheless they tried to assist the community nurses and RedCross team where possible.
Though only a few community members came out to access the “free” services, the health team was satisfied that they provided quality services to the needy who braved the rainy weather. It was obvious that the rain had affected the turn out and the mobile team will definitely visit the community of Alligator Pond again soon! As the team rolled out, rain, wind, fog disappeared and there were now smiles…sunshine…warmth!
Projects Abroad donated medical supplies which included; speculums, bed rolls, cotton, gauze, hot packs, gloves, lubricant, bandages, alcohol, tongue depressors and syringes.
The nurse on duty exclaimed that she was extremely glad for any assistance that Projects Abroad was able to extend and she is looking forward to an even stronger partnership.
By Cherricha Jacobs (Desk Officer and Social Manager)