Jamaica Missions USA had a second successful year of providing a two-week missionary project in the parish of St. Elizabeth in Jamaica from February 23 to March 10, 2018. This report will reflect a summary of the second week of the project from March 2 to March 10, 2018. The second medical team project included medical care and integrated health, along with vision care that was provided for the very first time by Jamaica Missions, USA.
The second project was carried out in collaboration with St. Elizabeth Public Health Department and the Ministry of Health. Jamaican leaders included Sean Brissett (Parish Manager), Dr. Tonia Dawkins (Medical Officer of Health), and Eugenie Anderson (Head Dental Nurse). Leaders from Jamaica Missions, USA on site for the second project included Melissa Watson & Edward Smith (Project Directors) and Carla Howard (Medical Director). Project one included leadership by Vinus Alscott (Founder & CEO), Dr. John Kopchick (Medical Director), Dr. Kent Willett (Dental Director, & William Henwood (Ministry Director), all from Jamaica Missions, USA.
A total of twenty-one participants were involved in providing care for the second project in week two. These participants included two Nurse Practitioners, two Medical Doctors (one from Kingston, Jamaica), one Optometrist and an assistant, four Nurse Practitioner students, two RNs, one Pharmacist, and two Pharmacy assistants (one was one of the RNs already mentioned) for the medical team; three helpers on the Integrated Health team; & two runners. This team was led by our project directors, Melissa & Edward with assistance from the Medical Director. Our team traveled from various places in the United States including, Colorado, South and North Carolina.
The team visited health centers in St. Elizabeth’s Parish including Burnt Savannah, Ginger Hill (two days), Prospect, & Fyffe’s Pen. A total of 57, 43, 44, 40, & 37 adults were seen for general medical care respectively and 25, 9, 10, 16, & 9 children also respectively seen for general medical care for a total of 221 Jamaican adults and 69 Jamaican children. Parasite treatment was provided for 36 patients. Twenty adult patients received knee or shoulder injections for arthritic conditions. The Optometrist with help from his assistant provided eye screenings/exams/ and reading eye glasses during this week. A total of 32, 42, 47, 43, & 40 adults were seen for eye care respectively and 10, 5, 5, 4, & 10 children were seen respectively for a total of 204 Jamaican adults and 34 Jamaican children. Eye screenings and exams were provided for 209 patients and 209 patients also received reading glasses. Additionally, 122 patients received general health education and 166 patients received private health counseling during the week from the Integrated Health Team. The total number of Jamaicans seen and treated for the week of March 2 to March 10 for medical or eye care was 528. The team was also able to provide individual and group prayers and fellowship. A total of 1,133 prescriptions were filled and given to Jamaican patients seen in clinics this week. Medication was purchased or donated in the USA and carried to Jamaica, along with medication purchased in Jamaica. There were also medications that were supplied from the project last year that had been stored for use this year. Medical referrals were made as needed for further evaluation and treatment in Black River, Mandeville, or other private medical facilities in Jamaica.
The medical team encountered and treated a variety of medical diseases and conditions. Two of the primary conditions treated at all sites were Diabetes Mellitus and Hypertension. Respiratory diseases included COPD, asthma, tobacco addiction, and upper respiratory infections (viral & bacterial). Adults and children who were seen with asthma were treated with albuterol nebulizer treatments when needed. Cardiac diseases included coronary artery disease, atrial fibrillation, peripheral vascular disease, and hypercholesterolemia. Musculoskeletal conditions included low back pain, osteoarthritis, tendonitis, and sprains and strains. Neurological conditions included seizures, headaches, tremors, concussions, Parkinson’s, and radiculopathies and autoimmune disorders such as Lupus. Gastrointestinal conditions included running belly (gastroenteritis), GERD, pancreatitis, and general abdominal pain. There were some patients at Fyffe’s Pen who reported having influenza. Female genitourinary conditions included pregnancy, bacterial vaginosis, fungal infections, sexually transmitted diseases, urinary tract infections, breast abnormalities, and dysmenorrhea. Male genitourinary conditions included prostate enlargement, prostatitis, dysuria, and sexually transmitted diseases. There were also eye, ear, nose, throat, and general conditions seen such as fatigue, insomnia, glaucoma, cataracts, conjunctivitis, and allergic rhinitis. Fungal infections of the head, body, and genitalia were present along with blood disorders such as Sickle cell anemia. Other endocrine disorders such as Pituitary prolactinoma and possible Pheochromocytoma were of concern and these two patients were referred immediately to see endocrine specialists.
The team started the day with Bible study and breakfast and then departed for clinics each morning between 7:00 & 7:15 am. The team returned to base at Ocean Breeze Hotel in the Yardley Chase district of St. Elizabeth Parish in time for dinner at 6:30 pm. Preparation for the next day was done after dinner and then the team was allowed personal time to reflect, rest, or socialize. Quiet time followed so all would be ready for our next clinic day.
We had a successful project and many of us were touched by the love and hospitality shown by the Jamaican people we encountered. We look forward to more successful projects in the future as we work to improve the lives and medical care of our Jamaican brothers and sisters.
Carla J. Howard, MS, CRRN, ACNP-BC, FNP/Medical Director