Adventist Church Provides Free Health Care to Hundreds at Emancipation Park

Written by: Phillip E. L. Castell | Friday, February 1, 2019

The Andrews Memorial Hospital in collaboration with the Andrews Memorial SDA Church, ASI Ministries, Good Samaritan Inn and East Jamaica Conference of Seventh-day Adventists teamed up to provide free health services to hundreds who turned up at their Premier Health Expo  at Emancipation Park    on January 27, 2019.

There was a buzz of activities at the Park  as patrons joined lines to register for the various services such as prostate examination, pap smears, mammograms, blood sugar tests, blood cholesterol tests, foot therapy,  body mass index (BM) among others.

Of the hundreds who entered the park, more than three hundred and twenty (320) persons registered to take advantage of the free health services which were being provided by the hospital staff, health volunteers and medical doctors who participated in the expo.

At the end of the day, the fifteen medical doctors along with their team of support staff did a commendable job to serve the public without charging a cent. One hundred and twenty seven (127) persons received prescriptions with 2 or more drugs and had them filled free of cost. Eighty (80) persons elected to do the “know your blood group” test while twenty two (22) men had their PSA test done.

President and CEO of Andrews Memorial Hospital, Dr. Marvin Rouhotas,

was happy that the hospital and its partners were able to provide the health services to the public free of cost.  From as early as 5:30 am, people began to turn up to ensure they would be among those who would get to see a physician.  

“The reason the Andrews Memorial Hospital is involved in this health initiative is because a healthy nation creates a healthier economy for that nation and we just have unnecessary types of pathologies and illnesses in Jamaica that could be eliminated by lifestyle changes, changing bad habits and creating healthier diets,” Rouhotas said.

The top doctor at the Andrews Memorial posited that getting an early diagnosis is key and that the results of a simple blood test or check from the doctor can save a person’s life.  “It’s one of the main reasons we have cancer survivors,” he added. “It is that initial diagnosis that will save your life."   

The usually quite Emancipation park was transformed into a bustling health village with tents erected to accommodate sponsors, business partners and to facilitate the delivery of health care to the hundreds   who   attended the health fair.

The Keynote speaker at the Health Expo was president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church was Dr. Eric Nathan and

he posited that the SDA Church in East Jamaica Conference along with the other Seventh-day Adventist churches across the island,  have the potential to effect transformation across Jamaica in the area of health.

Noting that the Health Expo being held at Emancipation Park was just one of many other health projects being undertaken across the island, the top church pastor in EJC  was pleased to share that a similar health expo was currently being  held in Montego Bay and that one would be held at the Good Samaritan Inn  on Sunday, February 3, 2019, while another would be held in Morant Bay on February 7, 2019.

Dr. Nathan spoke highly of the partnership that the SDA church has forged with the Ministry of Health and was happy that the Health Minister saw the wisdom of working with the church to promote healthy living.  

“When the Minister of Health recognized who we are and what we have to offer, they were willing to come on board,” said Dr. Nathan. “They needed us and we needed them. They are able to give us support and we are able to use the network we have and the manpower we have,” he added.

“So really and truly, the East Jamaica Conference along with the Jamaica Union has the potential to effect transformation in the nation in the ministry of health,” Nathan said. 

Health Ministries Director at the Andrews Memorial SDA Church, Dr. Deria Cornwall, said the Expo was born out of the collaboration of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica and the Ministry of Health to fight the problem of non-communicable diseases that is impacting the country.

“Diseases such as hypertension and diabetes are part of the rising challenge of lifestyle diseases and the Jamaica Union Conference on seeing this, has partnered with the Ministry of Health to help to fight this,” said Dr. Cornwall. 

Cornwall backed up the focus of the Seventh-day Adventist Church on health with  scripture   quoting 3 John 2  which confirms that God wants people to prosper and be in health. She went further to say that when  Jesus was on earth, he spent  a lot of time dealing with health problems.

“When Jesus was here on earth, a lot of what he did was to help people with health issues,” said Cornwall. “He went about looking after their health issues, he went about seeking after their needs, He ministered unto them, He healed their sick, He won their confidence and then he bade them “follow me””,  she said emphatically. “So that’s really who we are following," added Dr. Cornwall. "The greatest example we are following, is the example of Christ.”

The Mayor of Kingston, Mr. Delroy Williams who attended the fair said

health was a foundational pillar of any society and that if a society wanted to prosper and progress, it must be a healthy society.  

 “There is no way one will have a high quality of life or be a productive country without    having that foundational pillar of health,” the mayor said.

He took the opportunity to commend the church for its emphasis on healthy lifestyle and suggested that the church should continue the work it is doing in the area of health.

Several sponsers partnered with the Andrews Memorial Hospital and the SDA Church including the Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation (JANAAC), the Ministry of Health, Jamaica Moves, Biomedical Labs, Lasco, Guardian Group, University of the Commonwealth Caribbean, Precision Imaging Centre, National Housing Trust and the Administrator General’s Department.

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