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Since 2000 Global Health Volunteers (GHV) has traveled to Kingston, Jamaica to provide medical relief to hundreds of patients. Again, this January a GHV team of 16 volunteers returned to the region for a 10-day medical mission providing primary care visits, physical therapy, personal counseling and health education to a total of 446 patients in the neighborhoods of Kingston and the rural community of Braes River.
A large asset to the mission was having a board-certified chaplain who provided a wealth of personal counseling as well as health education on chronic conditions such as hypertension and diabetes. The large economic disparity in Jamaica leads to many patients suffering from depression. Our chaplain skillfully connected with each patient and quickly gained their trust which led to promises to continue treatment at local health clinics. The GHV mission team physicians also referred patients to the chaplain for counseling and education which allowed them additional time to help patients see the small steps that could help mitigate their conditions and provide a holistic treatment plan. Patients' kind words and big smiles confirmed the comprehensive health visit they received. Global Health Volunteers' ultimate goal is to move them toward total self-sustainability so many patients were referred to the local health clinics for follow-up so they can receive publicly available assistance.
Global Health Volunteers is privileged to serve the people of Jamaica over the last 20 years and look forward to returning next January.