Montego Bay, Jamaica, January 23, 2017 – For the past six years, the New Jersey-based Diaspora charity, Jamaicans Abroad Helping Jamaicans At Home (JAHJAH), has been quietly carving out a legacy of service in health care in communities across Jamaica. Whether it is providing free medical treatment to needy persons, donating equipment and supplies to public hospitals and health centres or the sharing of expertise with local health professionals, JAHJAH has been impacting lives, while contributing to the country’s development.
JAHJAH founder, Dr. Trevor Dixon, a Jamaican-born physician who lives and practices in the United States (US), told JIS News that it has been “a very satisfying journey knowing that I am giving back to my country. We have had our fair share of hiccups along the way but at no time did I ever feel like abandoning the cause. It is called service above self and I am very happy that JAHJAH is in a position where it can indeed make a difference,” he said at a health fair at the Ulster Spring Health Centre in Trelawny on January 19.
The team of 25 doctors, most of whom left the island today (Jan.23) after a nine-day medical mission, conducted clinics and health fairs in communities in Kingston, St. James and Trelawny, providing service in areas such as dentistry, gynecology, pediatrics, internal medicine and emergency medicine. In addition to the provision of health services, the team carried out a number of projects, including hosting Jamaica’s first ever trauma conference at the Montego Bay Convention Centre on January 20 and 21.
The team also visited schools to carry out echocardiogram (ECG) tests to check for problems with the electrical activity of the heart. “We conducted tests on young student athletes, who may unknowingly be suffering from underlying conditions that could result in death,” Dr. Dixon told JIS News. Some 100 students also benefited from basic check-ups as well as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training. Dr. Dixon said the team of health care and medical professionals, who practise in the United States, Canada and Great Britain, also shared best practices with their local counterparts.
Meanwhile, scores of persons benefited from the health fair held at the Ulster Spring clinic. “There are quite a number of persons from neighboring communities that are here today,” Dr. Dixon noted. “We were here last year and had a really good time and so we are back. A lot of these people would not be able to afford the service we are providing, so we are truly touched and humbled that we can indeed make a difference,” he added.
Dr. Dixon said his organisation’s main goal is to help improve the quality of health care that is delivered at public hospitals and health centres in Jamaica. “We are also committed to assisting with improving education in Jamaica. As our name suggests, we are about partnerships with Jamaicans and friends of Jamaica overseas to execute our mission on the ground in Jamaica,” he told JIS News, noting that the JAHJAH has an excellent relationship with the Ministry of Health. “In doing what we do, our medical missions invariably return home feeling that they received more than they gave,” Mr. Dixon pointed out.
He said the entity has been lobbying other members of the Diaspora to give back to their country of birth. “It is indeed a fact that some of our brighter minds are plying their trade overseas and doing very well in many cases. It is time for those who have left Jamaica to look back and give a helping hand. No one knows what the future holds, so a better Jamaica can only be best for all of us,” he pointed out. Dr. Dixon thanked all those who support the work of the JAHJAH.
Photo Credit: Columbia University