Sun | May 28, 2023

Scores get free healthcare at Indian mission medical camp

Published:Tuesday | January 25, 2022 | 12:10 AMTamara Bailey/Gleaner Writer
Attendees at the Indian High Commission’s medical camp held at the Northern Caribbean University campus in Mandeville, Manchester, filling prescriptions at the pharmacy booth on Sunday.
Attendees at the Indian High Commission’s medical camp held at the Northern Caribbean University campus in Mandeville, Manchester, filling prescriptions at the pharmacy booth on Sunday.

Scores of individuals across the parish who could not ordinarily afford a doctor’s visit, or those who have been inconvenienced by the scaled down operations at several public health facilities as a result of the pandemic, benefited significantly from a free medical camp organised by the High Commission of India on the campus of the Northern Caribbean University in Mandeville, Manchester, on Sunday.

The camp, which is part of the Indian mission’s drive to improve the health of Jamaicans, is supported by the Indian community of over 40 doctors and pharmaceutical companies.

Indian High Commissioner to Jamaica Runsung Masakui is keen on continuing the initiative throughout the island over the course of the year.

“We have had our first medical camp around the same time last year and we did 15 locations in nine parishes ... . This is an endeavour that we want to carry on. In December, we had three camps in Kingston and rather than doing it in one go, once in a year, we are thinking of doing it in two parishes adjacent to each other,” he said.

Masakui underscored the importance of having the health of the population assessed and maintained, even as the world battles the COVID-19 pandemic.

“..We are observing all protocols and we have thought to go ahead with this and not cancel. We are very, very thankful for the doctors and the Indian pharmacies that have come on board to really meet the requirement of the people who come in to the facility (camps),” the Indian diplomat said.

Rates need to improve

As health sectors across the world continue to buckle under pressure with higher positivity rates as a result of the Omicron variant, Masakui indicated that the vaccination rates would have to improve for the world to move from a pandemic to an endemic.

“It’s an individual choice. I don’t know what reasons they (public) have to [not]vaccinate, but I am fully vaccinated and I have taken the booster shot. In India, it is now 1.6 billion doses that have been administered and we are going very fast so that our people can be fully vaccinated. I would encourage, of course if you don’t have other medical reasons, to go and vaccinate yourself.”

With an unusually high number of requests for assistance with medical expenses coming into her office, Member of Parliament for Central Manchester Rhoda Crawford indicated that the proposal for the medical camp could not have come at a better time.

“We will never have enough resources to meet the needs and this camp is saving us a lot. We have persons who expressed satisfaction. They were able to see the doctor; they came with their prescription and they were able to get the medicines here. I want to say a big that you to the Indian High Commission, the doctors, pharmacies and NCU for hosting us,” she said.

The medical camp attendees were able to consult dentists and general practitioners, have their vital checks, and fill prescriptions free of cost.

Satisfied with service

Among the beneficiaries was mother of three Natasha Mitchell, who told The Gleaner that even at the low cost of $700 per child at a doctor’s office, she would not have been immediately able to complete her children’s medical.

“The money I would use to do medical can now go towards lunch and other expenses ... . I feel great, I am satisfied and I had a great experience. My children even got vitamins and I am very glad because you know COVID is around,” the grateful mother shared.

Meanwhile, NCU President Dr Lincoln Edwards said the university is always ready to partner with organisations and initiatives that aim to improve lives.

“People are going through difficult times and they don’t always have the resources to go to the doctor. For NCU to host this for people to come and share their concerns and receive excellent medical advice, is exactly what we want to do as we believe in serving the community. We are always willing to partner with our neighbours in helping others to improve their lives,” he said.