BRANDON HILL, Clarendon:
Launched in December 2012, the LJDR Davis Foundation held its first mission in Brandon Hill, Clarendon, in 2013. Having concluded their fifth successful mission recently, the foundation has also facilitated seven surgeries in the United States for Jamaican patients who were in dire need of life-saving surgeries but could not afford it.
Started in memory of her four deceased siblings: Loretta, Jacqueline, Donald and Rohan Davis, nurse practitioner and founder Novlet Davis has, over the years, brought many of her colleagues to Jamaica to provide free medical care for the people of her beloved hometown, Brandon Hill.
This year's medical mission was held from July 10 to 13 at the Evelyn Mitchell Infant School of Excellence, and some 68 volunteers gave of their time and talents to the cause.
Regional director of the Southern Regional Health Authority, Michael Bent, led a team from the region on a tour of the mission's work in Brandon Hill.
"At the wake for my brother Rohan, I started to do some blood pressure checks on persons in attendance and saw that many of them were walking around with blood pressure of 230/140," Davis said in an interview with The Gleaner.
That spurred her to speak to colleagues in New York about helping her set up the foundation in memory of her brothers and sisters. A cardiologist, one of her associates, was among the first group of volunteers. The mission began with providing only basic but much-needed health care, EKGs, three to six months' supply of medication, and patient education, but it has grown tremendously.
Gwendolyn Kerr, one very grateful recipient of the generosity of this outstanding daughter of Brandon Hill, returns for her check-up from the cardiologist on every trip they make to the island. She got her heart surgery done free of cost in the United States.
This year, people travelled from as far as St Thomas and St Ann's Bay to Brandon Hill upon hearing about the free, excellent quality medical care.
Barbers Get Help
In addition to the health care, the community has also benefited from having two barbers in their area. "One volunteer nurse's husband is a barber and he came to help with cutting the hair of the young boys in the community. Two young men who assisted him showed an interest in learning the skill and they were taken to the US for training. They were certified here and have now opened their own barber shop in Brandon Hill.
Medical services offered by the group this year included dermatology, obstetrics and gynaecology, critical care, paediatrics, dental, pharmacy, social work, psychological, laboratory as well as an ECO/EKG suite. By noon on the final day of the mission, more than 1,000 persons had been treated.