More and more, nurses, doctors and technicians from overseas are visiting Jamaica to offer their services for free.
The latest visitors are from the American West Indian Medical Association (Amerimeds Association), who travelled to Jamaica in June for the fifth year, to do just that, providing much-needed services such as dental work, gynaecology, physical therapy, and general medical care.
Residents of St Catherine West Central community, Macca Tree, were one group of people that benefited.
Gynaecologist Dr Angella Kerr, who is a member of Amerimeds Association, said that the group is committed to giving help to Caribbean countries where they think there is a medical need.
“We understand that with the reduced resources, access to health care may not be so easy for some people, especially in some of the rural areas,” Dr Kerr said.
Having partnered with other groups in the island — Kiwanis Club and Rotary Club of Kingston — Dr Kerr said the association's aim is to improve the health, education and well-being of people in Caribbean communities.
Minister of Health and Member of Parliament for St Catherine West Central Dr Christopher Tufton said: “It's difficulty to serve all the needs of the community so we welcome the support by philanthropic groups like the American West Indian Medical Association. I am grateful to Ms Lorna Bryant, president of the American West Indian Medical Association, for her leadership that make this possible.”
On June 13 the group visited St Mary, offering the same medical services to residents there. The clinic, which started on June 8, ended on June 15. Dr Kerr said the response and turnout was both robust and overwhelming.
“The residents came out and the patients were really grateful for our assistance. We try to provide some of the medications they need, for some of the conditions identified at the time of treatment,” Dr Kerr said.
The team returned to America last month, following which they will decide on the country to which they will take their next mission. Dr Kerr noted that many of the members of the group are Jamaicans so they have a special place in their hearts for Jamaica, which has influenced the number of times they've visited.
“We've also felt that we have some understanding of the people, the health care system and the support from the Government that have encouraged us to come on,” Dr Kerr said.
The American West Indian Medical Association was founded in August, 2013 and the association has been donating to different countries, assembling fund-raisers and providing health education to those in need.