Friday, August 20, 2010

Successful medical mission to St.Vincent and the Grenadines

By Nelson A. King Published: Friday, August 20, 2010 4:44 PM EDT

Despite several setbacks, the Vincie Cultural Group of Brooklyn (VCGB) has described as a “resounding success” its inaugural medical mission to St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

President Roxie Irish said the Jul. 17-25 mission, conducted in collaboration with the Brooklyn-based Health Care International (HCI), met its overall goals and objectives.

Irish, a born-again Christian and former national netball star, said the 19-member mission – comprising, among others, oral surgeons, dentists, physicians and registered nurses – provided medical care to over 500 nationals in Sandy Bay and Colonarie on the windward coast, Troumaca on the leeward coast, and Bequia in the Grenadines.

She said more patients could have been seen if “the various areas were properly notified.”

“But all things worked out very well,” she told Caribbean Life, adding that the group wished it had more wheelchairs and walkers to donate to those in need.

Irish, however, said VCGB plans to dispatch more wheelchairs shortly when it receives more donations.

She said several requests were also made for ophthalmologic services, which could not be offered during the historic mission.

In addition, the VCGB president said six clinics – Biabou, Clare valley, Colonarie, Coulls Hill, Overland and Spring Village – received “much-needed” supplies during a hand-over ceremony.

“From the perspective of HCI, it was one of its best tours,” she said, stating that the group eagerly looks forward to the next medical mission to her beautiful homeland.

“They thoroughly enjoyed the warm Vincentian hospitality and the majestic beauty of SVG,” she added.

Mavelyn Wilson, HCI’s coordinator, told Caribbean Life that the inaugural mission to St. Vincent and the Grenadines was “wonderful.”

“Overall, the trip was a success,” she said, adding that it was similar to the group’s annual outreach in Jamaica, where it also provides medical and dental service to underserved communities.

Wilson said HCI, founded in 1990 by Jamaican Dr. Noel Browne, has also conducted missions in Trinidad and Tobago and Ghana.

Irish lamented what she characterized as “many setbacks,” including air transportation, during the trip.

“The team faced some challenges with LIAT Airlines with regards to their connecting flights to and from SVG from T & T (Trinidad and Tobago),” she said.

“This was quite an eye-opener and a learning experience,” she added without elaboration.

Irish, however, lauded local medical and political authorities, and concerns and individuals for making the mission successful.

Besides Irish, VCGB members Cheyanne and Chanelle Bongard, Ann Pierre, Judith Cuffy-Murray, Debra Bobb, Ariel Pierre, Kimberle Thompson, and Sofia Nelson comprised the mission.

With hardly a breather since returning here, Irish said the group is already preparing for its 7th annual cultural show, on Sept. 11, at Meyer Levin Intermediate School in Brooklyn.

At that event, funds will be raised to purchase more medical supplies for St. Vincent and the Grenadines.