Jamaica Missions USA is a nondenominational Christian mission that provides selfless love and compassion to the people in St. Elizabeth’s parish of Jamaica. This was a collaborative project with St. Elizabeth Public Health Department and the Ministry of Health to provide healthcare in areas not regularly visited by Jamaican physicians or other healthcare providers, specifically Type I clinics.
The Jamaica Missions USA project for 2016 began February 12, 2016 and finished on February 20, 2016. This project brought medical, dental, integrated health and spiritual support to the communities of Prospect, Ginger Hill, Elderslie, Accompong, Aberdeen, Malvern, and Springfield.
The 2016 project consisted of Vinus Alscott, founder & CEO, Dr. John Kopchick, Medical Director, Dr. Kent Willett, Dental Director, William Henwood, Ministry Director, and Edward Smith, Project Director. The Jamaican leaders for this project included Sean Brissett Parish Manager, Dr. T. Dawkins, Medical Officer of Health, and Eugenie Anderson, Head Dental Nurse.
Volunteers for this project came from the USA, Canada, and from Jamaica. The medical team consisted of one medical doctor, two nurse practitioners, two physician assistants, three nurses, one emergency medical technician, one medical assistant (scribe), two pharmacists, two integrated health providers, two runners, and one general helper. The dental team consisted of two dentists, one dental hygienist, two dental assistants, one nurse, and one general helper.
The medical team provided care for the following conditions: diabetes mellitus, hypertension, atrial fibrillation, post-stroke care, headaches, seizures, osteoarthritis (knees, shoulders, low back), peripheral neuropathy, chronic myalgia from Chikungunya virus, GERD, gastritis, abdominal pain, asthma, allergies, bacterial infections of the respiratory tract (sinuses, tonsils, lungs), cough, otitis media, cerumen impaction, hearing loss, bacterial abscesses, fungal infections of the skin & scalp, sexually transmitted infections, including one possible syphilis, parasitic infestations of the gastrointestinal tract, infections of the urinary tract (UTI, prostatitis), prostate enlargement, breast tenderness, venous stasis ulcers, thyroid disorders, non-healing machete wounds, skin cancer, insomnia, poor appetite, anxiety, & grief.
The Jamaican people were assessed, diagnosed, and provided treatment through prescriptions of medications and injections of joints to relieve arthritic pain. Additionally, education was provided individually and in groups on topics of diet, exercise, body mechanics, appropriate footwear, blood pressure monitoring through local clinics when possible, and each person that was seen also received at least one personal prayer for healing and comfort. Every person receiving medication was given personal one-to-one teaching about how to take the medication and what it was for. Many people were referred to local facilities for further treatment or specific diagnostics.
The medical team evaluated 296 adults, 102 children (under age 18), and provided parasite treatment to 75 patients. Minor surgery or procedures were performed on 26 patients. A total of 1229 prescriptions were provided. Health education was given to 341 patients with 262 receiving private sessions from an integrated health provider. A total of 538 adults and 133 children were seen by the medical and dental team (see dental team report for specifics treated).
The addition of vision care should be strongly considered for the 2017 project. Many Jamaicans have visual difficulties because of vision changes with aging, diabetes, or other chronic conditions. Another consideration that should be included is providing education and condoms to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted disease as well as the new mosquito-borne Zika virus which is thought to cause birth defects and is also thought to be transmitted sexually.
The project was very successful and there were no injuries or incidents that occurred. The medical team worked well together with new and returning volunteers. All on this project whether, new or returning, felt very connected to each other and the Jamaican people they cared for. This project provides each volunteer a chance to help others and to strengthen their personal connection with God.