Maverley residents grateful for Rotary Club’s ‘Kiddies Health Fair’

ALTHOUGH he had to spend a few hours to get all the health services he needed for his children, Steve Lindsay was a pleased man on Saturday, as he sat and waited for a team of dentists to see his three children — one a teenager and the other two below 10.

They were among nearly 200 people, majority children, who benefited from the 10th staging of a health fair organised and managed by the Rotary Club of Trafalgar New Heights for residents of Maverley in St Andrew.

The children benefited from dental examinations and cleaning, eye screening and medical check-ups for back-to-school, while adults and parents had their blood pressure and blood sugar tested, and men also benefited from free PSA tests for prostate health.

Like many inner-city communities, much of Maverley’s residents are low income and therefore, accessing health services for routine back-to-school checks often means long waits at the nearest clinic in neighbouring Drewsland or a little farther in Duhaney Park. And not every trip turns out successfully.

“Me carry them [the children] go over to Drewsland about three weeks ago back a one another [one after the other], but them never get through,” said Lindsay.

It was his wife, who he noted is currently away from the community, who suggested taking the children instead to the health fair on the grounds of the Maverley Primary and Infant School, after she received a flyer making the rounds by WhatsApp. He listened and took the children to the event to get their school medicals done, plus they could also have their eyes examined and teeth cleaned.

“So, this [the health fair] is good, and I really appreciate it because it a help me from go other place here now, cause I would a stress about it,” added Lindsay as he thanked the organisers.

Lindsay wasn’t the only adult male who was relieved that the fair had come so close to home. Dave Mason, a single dad, was thankful for the gesture by the Rotary Club, although it was his nephew that he brought along to get his medical done. But he also used the opportunity to get a free PSA blood test to check up on the health of his prostate.

“It’s really good for the youths them and it good for we too, because prostate cancer is a real thing,” said Mason.

In the meantime, a mother, who gave her name only as Camika, was especially grateful for the convenience the health fair provided for her and other parents.

“Whole heap of community members say they have to go out [and] pay this whole lot of money, when you can just come here and pay $100 or $200 to see a doctor,” she related as she tried to hold on to her fidgety four or five-year-old son, who was also waiting to see the dentist.

“Every year we do this, we’re reminded of just how important this initiative is,” a reflective president of the Rotary Club of Trafalgar New Heights, Michael Sutherland, explained.

“Today we saw children who have never visited a dentist before and have never had their teeth cleaned or examined; children who have never had their sight tested; children who have experienced tragedies and hardships and are in need of help,” added Sutherland.

He thanked the various partners and sponsors of the initiative for their efforts, describing each contribution as “magnanimous efforts”.

“To Maverley community volunteers who were out in their numbers to assist the medical team and to help with processing and marshalling residents as they came; the team of dentists led by Dr Ajani Blake, who worked from early morning into twilight to ensure more than 140 children had their teeth examined and cleaned; the team from the Maverley Primary and Infant School, who not only provided us with a venue, but hosted us graciously; Dr Nigel Clarke, the Member of Parliament, who ensured that volunteers were fed and also came out to interact with residents and lend any additional support where necessary. We are grateful to all of you,” the Rotary Club president expressed.

He continued: “We are also very appreciative of the services of our other medical partners from Windsor Wellness Centre, which provided free PSA tests, and the FISH Clinic, which provides the eye examinations year after year at a heavily subsidised cost, as well as Distinction College, whose team of warm and savvy practical nurses supported with blood pressure and blood sugar checks.”

Sutherland, who is also principal of the Central Branch High School in Kingston, also thanked the team of medical doctors — Rotarians and non-Rotarians — who volunteered their time to screen more than 150 children, and various corporate sponsors — Tastee Patties, Coldfield Distributors, Lasco Distributors, Excelsior, Benjamins — and individual donors.

“When we pool our skills and resources, we can make a whole world of difference in the lives of people who need our help,” concluded Sutherland.