Healthcare is critical in the development of any community and Highgate is no exception. In January 2007 work began on what was called a “type three health clinic” in Highgate which was built to replace the old clinic that could no longer adequately meet the needs of citizens. It was funded by the National Health Fund at a reported cost of $87 million.
This is a monumental accomplishment supporting healthcare for Highgaters.
But the lack of funds to support its continued operations lessened the effects of this accomplishment. We know that without good health nothing else matters; neither to our people in Highgate or to anyone. As a Jamaican Charity, we immediately turned our focus on health as a major human concern for the citizens of the community.
Health Fair: Dr. Allain Iffih, a member of UFOH and a child of Highgate –also a specialist in family medicine; nurses from the health committee and other members joined with UFOH members in Highgate and local professional (doctors, nurses, members of the Lions Club etc.) to launched our first health fair. They transported medicine, supplies and equipment from Florida to Highgate and served over two hundred patients in one day.
Over the next nine years our health committee has successfully operated a yearly health fair providing medical and dental services, including HIV, PSA and Vision testing, Pap Smear, Hypertension and Diabetic screening, and general medical checkup. The team has donated supplies such as walkers, wheel chairs, medicine, vitamins, minerals and has provided residents with small bags of giveaways containing, dressing and dental supplies.
Ambulance: In December 2012, we delivered an Ambulance to the health center as a gift. Jamaica’s National Observer proudly displayed the headlines, “The Highgate Health Centre in St Mary now has its own ambulance”. The Jamaica Daily Gleaner reported that, “In celebration of Jamaica’s 50th anniversary of Independence, the North East Regional Health Authority, in collaboration with the United Friends of Highgate, presented the Highgate Health Centre with an ambulance at a handover ceremony held at the facility earlier this week”.
Infirmary & Hospitals: Our Social Welfare committee has adopted the Infirmary in Port Maria, a community close to Highgate, and the capital of the parish of St. Mary. The committee members have committed themselves to a visit each year where they feed the poor and provide them with necessities such as clothing, diapers and other hygiene supplies.
They donated beds and bed protectors, walkers, wheel chairs, medical supplies and TVs. They have also provided the Port Maria and Annotto bay Hospitals with similar supplies.
Others in Need: This Jamaica nonprofit organization dedicated to the welfare of Highgate, has a duty not only to Highgate and its surrounding communities but to be charitable wherever and whenever it can. In September 2015, UFOH donated more than $140,000 to help a mother pay for her son’s expensive surgical operation.
The teenager, Roger Braham, 17, suffers from a rare bone disease, Crouzon syndrome, which prevented his facial bones and skull developing properly. The funds along with funds from other donors were used to pay for his final and successful operation with most of the medical bills settled. The president of the Highgate chapter spearheaded this project.
These are but a few of our healthcare accomplishments as there are many others, though small, that have affected the community in a very positive manner. Our long-term development plan will include operations to effectively provide healthcare for all the citizens of Highgate and surrounding communities.
Dr. Allian Iffih
Specialist in family medicine
Waiting to see the doctor
at UFOH’s Health Fair
Highgate Health Fair
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