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Jamaica is where we started. Over many years of visiting Jamaica, our medical director identified a lack of access to healthcare. Medical treatment in the country is problematic, and preventative care is virtually nonexistent, even though it is free. Often, problems go unaddressed until advanced stages are reached.
Jamaica is a country of moderate poverty, and the resources are lacking. Physicians working for the public health system are overburdened by the number of patients. Simply, there are not enough healthcare providers for the number of patients. In the Negril region of the country where we serve, the Jamaicans barely make enough money to meet their daily needs and cannot afford medical care with a private physician.
Josh, a cabinet maker in his early 50s who lived and worked at the end of the lane where our medical director, Susan Bartsch, stayed on our visits to Negril. She and her husband did not stay in the resorts; instead, they would reside in the community with the Jamaicans. While visiting, Susan would perform health exams for the locals, and this is when she met Josh. He asked Susan to check “his pressure.” Much to her surprise, Josh’s blood pressure was quite elevated. He was not taking any medications; he had no money to see a doctor and couldn’t pay for prescriptions. Susan checked his blood pressure the next day, and it was even higher. After a concerted discussion and lots of encouragement, Susan told Josh he would end up having a stroke or be put on dialysis if he did not get his blood pressure under control. On the third day, when she was looking for him, his workers told her that she had scared him enough that he went to see a doctor.
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