Slow going at mobile clinic

It was a slow going on Thursday as the Ministry of Health’s new mobile clinic moved into Rosemont,
St Michael.

The Health Care on Wheels service was launched last month as a way to bring health services to the community.

As such, the idea is for the unit to travel to specific target communities across Barbados, including schools and businesses, but it appears not many people were aware of its presence to serve the districts.

On Thursday, the nurses from the Branford Taitt Polyclinic were in charge and set up shop in Rosemont, catering to the residents of the area as well as Deacons, Ferniehurst, Brandons and Black Rock. They arrived at 10 a.m. and left around 1:30 p.m.

 “Every polyclinic has its own catchment area and the ‘bus’ is used by different clinics on different days. On Thursdays, we have it and we go to different areas within our catchment. Last week we went to Baxters Road and Eagle Hall, [St Michael] and Fitts Village, [St James],” said registered nurse Shirland Thompson.

He said they offered free blood sugar and blood pressure testing and prostate-specific antigen testing as well as general health counselling.

However, the intake was few and far between. Juanita Cave was walking by and said she had no idea the unit was going to be there.

“People don’t know. There should have been posters or they should have put it on Instagram or something. Now that I know I will let others know too,” she said, adding some people were at work.

Hilsey McClean said she was passing by and saw the mobile clinic and decided to take advantage of the opportunity. She said it was a great initiative.

“I didn’t know it was here beforehand. I just happened to see it so I stopped by as I figured it would be nice to have my [blood] pressure checked.

“This is a very good initiative; it allows people to get their health checks without having to go to a clinic or the hospital. It’s not everybody who can wait in those places for hours,” she said.

Thompson said while the traffic had not been heavy overall, it had been constant for the three or so hours they spent in Rosemont, adding more people arrived during the afternoon.

A source in the ministry said they did not know why the uptake had been so low in Rosemont as the previous site visits had been very well received.

A check on the ministry’s Instagram page showed information about the mobile clinic. The page said it would be run by public health nurses and it was expected the preventative and diagnostic care offered would include routine immunisations, checks for non-communicable diseases and PAP smears.

It said: “This new and innovative service is intended to increase public access to primary health care services and engage members of the public who find it difficult to get to polyclinics.

The mobile clinic service will operate from the following polyclinics: Randal Phillips, Oistins, Christ Church; Eunice Gibson, Warrens, St Michael; Branford Taitt, Black Rock, St Michael, and Maurice Byer, Station Hill, St Peter.”

Health Care on Wheels operates from Tuesday to Friday each week.

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