Dinthill Alumni Association’s medical mission returns

BY BRITTNY HUTCHINSON Observer staff reporter hutchinsonb@jamaicaobserver.com Aug 20, 2022 12:54 am

Scores of parents take their children to the Dinthill Technical High Alumni Association’s medical mission at Dinthill Technical High School on Thursday. (Photo: Karl McLarty)

FOLLOWING a two-year hiatus due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, Dinthill Technical High Alumni Association resumed its medical mission catering to the well-being of students who will be resuming classes next month.

The two-day health fair started on Thursday at the Dinthill Technical High School.

This year’s staging was in partnership with the County Line Chiropractic Medical and Rehab Center — a medical group practice located in Miami, Florida, which provided medical, dental, and optical examinations for the students.

According to mission coordinator Margaret Watt Walker, along with Dinthill Technical High School pupils there were also students from Enid Bennett High School (formerly Bog Walk High School) and Guy’s Hill High School at the health fair.

Registered nurse Jacinta Davidson does a pressure check on 12-year-old Tyreke Guthrie at the Dinthill Technical High Alumni Association’s medical mission on Thursday, with mission coordinator Margaret Watt Walker. (Photo: Karl McLarty)

“We are not turning away anybody. We are working from now until we see the last student. The medical is for back-to-school, but we also offered eye and dental checks, and we brought down glasses too. It was a yearly thing until COVID-19 and we were the first set of people to come back,” Watt Walker told the Jamaica Observer.

She noted that she experienced difficulties getting some medical supplies into the island, but she and her team were making the effort to give the children the best care possible.

“There are about 70 of us from overseas of different professions. We have some challenges with things that were shipped that we need to use, but the shipper has not delivered after five weeks; however, we are here to serve,” she said.

At the same time, medical director of the mission Dr. Cyrus McCalla said he was looking forward to providing much medical care to children before they return to school.

Medical official Karlene Cobourne does a dental check on Hughie-Ann Brown during the Dinthill Technical High Alumni Association’s medical mission on Thursday. (Photo: Karl McLarty)

“This is our first day and we are trying to get the students in as quickly as possible and get ready for the school year. We want to see as many students and make sure they are in good physical condition to return to school and ready to learn. Not only in health care, but dental and vision care,” he said.

Ophthalmologist Dr Zubair Ansari stressed the importance of eye care, especially with the increased screen time of children amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“… We are trying to pick up on any eye disease, and will be checking kids based on what their vision is, and see if they may need to get glasses see better.

“Kids tend to strain their eyes a lot now because they are always watching the TV and on their iPad reading,” he added.

“I am happy for the medical. Health care is very expensive and I really appreciate this initiative,” said Odian Evans, a parent.

Janice Grant, parent of a Dinthill student, applauded the association for its efforts. “The experience has been good, they are moving faster than I expected and being here is saving me a lot of money,” said Grant.

Another parent, Kasandra Davis, said she looks forward to the medical mission being held every year.

“I am very grateful. This takes off the expense and most places do not have the facilities to do these tests, so this is really beneficial for parents,” she said.

The medical mission started in 2016 after several past students recognised the need to assist parents and guardians with the cost of the mandatory medical examinations for children at Dinthill Technical High School and other institutions.