1,000 benefit from eye-care mission in western Jamaica

Friday, November 08, 2019

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MORE than 1,000 residents in St James and Trelawny have benefited from free eye services offered by the United States non-profit organisation Great Shape! Inc.

The 45-volunteer optical professionals form part of an iCare Mission which partners with the Sandals Foundation to deliver free eye and general health services to underserved rural communities on an annual basis.

For over a week, a free clinic was operated at the Mount Carey Baptist Church in rural St James, delivering free eye exams and general blood pressure and blood sugar checks to more than 1,400 residents.

Some 150 laser surgeries were conducted on glaucoma patients at the clinic and prescription glasses delivered to children and the elderly.

In Falmouth, Trelawny, close to 50 residents also benefited from free cataract surgeries done at the Falmouth Hospital while surgeries at the Cornwall Regional Hospital helped those suffering from diabetic retinopathy.

Steven Stern, director of the iCare Mission, said his team is aiming to serve 5,000 Jamaicans this year.

“In the coming weeks, we will be operating clinics in the parishes of St Ann and St Catherine. We welcome residents to meet us as we aim to treat at least 5,000 people.”

All services provided at the clinic, Stern noted, are conservatively valued at US$10 million.

Heidi Clarke, sxecutive director of the Sandals Foundation, expressed gratitude to the volunteers who continue to serve people in need.

“The services offered every year by the iCare Mission are many times out of the reach of ordinary Jamaicans. The Sandals Foundation and Sandals and Beaches resorts are very happy to accommodate these medical professionals as they bring these vital services to those who need it most,” she said.

The Sandals Foundation and Sandals Resorts International arrange ground logistics for the community clinics as well as provide accommodation, meals and cover the cost of transportation for the medical volunteers.

Since 2009, the iCare Mission has conducted more than 40,000 exams and distributed more than 83,000 pairs of glasses at the clinics which are also operated in Antigua and the Turks & Caicos.


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