At a time when healthcare has become more invaluable than ever before, during the most widespread pandemic in recent history, the ministry of compassion and care continues in the Central Jamaica Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (CJC).
On Thursday, October 29, 2020, the CJC's Health Ministries Department, under the leadership of Director, Mrs Deon Henry, conducted a Handing Over Ceremony at the Mandeville Regional Hospital in Mandeville, Jamaica. Following a passionate devotional thought about the Good Samaritan, and prayer by CJC's Community Services and Publishing Director, and Chairman of the Mandeville Life Hope Centre Board, Pastor Everett Smith, Dr Daniel Fider, Professor of Leadership, Northern Caribbean University (NCU) handed over much needed medical equipment reportedly valuing well over J$2,000,000 on behalf of Philanthropist and Chief of the Department of Medicine, Dr Pete Williams, representing the North East Georgia Medical Centre, Georgia, USA.
In her opening remarks, on behalf of the Officers of the CJC, Mrs Henry stated, "Central Jamaica Conference, our Seventh-day Adventist Church, strongly believes that the time has come for health to play a greater role in community transformation". Further, she stated, "We would welcome an opportunity to partner with Southern Regional Health Authority. For example, we would like to utilise some of your health centres across the parish of Manchester on Sundays to offer some of the services that we deliver. We welcome that partnership, and we hope we can have further discussion on that". Mrs Henry then invited Dr Fider to the podium to give oversight to the handing over portion of the proceedings.
During his opening remarks, Dr Fider thanked Mrs Henry for the privilege of joining with the Acting Regional Director, Mrs Herschel Ismail, Southern Regional Health Authority, who sent apologies for unavoidable absence, Mr Alwyn Miller, CEO, Mandeville Regional Hospital, Central Jamaica Conference, members of the media, and others joining in this occasion.
Dr Fider stated, "I am here this afternoon to represent two entities that have come together in partnership to reach out in providing some medical and supplies to the Mandeville Regional Hospital, Dr Pete Williams and the North East Georgia Medical Centre". Fider outlined the commitment of Dr Williams, a graduate of Northern Caribbean University, who has given back to the elementary school, university, and church he attended while living in Jamaica.
"North East Georgia Medical Centre, the other major partner, is a 550-bed flagship hospital that started up in 1951. They, too, are pleased to join with Dr Williams to make this gift available. They hope that other gifts will follow this one". Dr Fider shared the hope that when the complexities of the pandemic have subsided, that a relationship between Northern Caribbean University's nursing students can be established and taken to another level.
"Ladies and gentlemen", he said, "On behalf of Dr Pete Williams, and on behalf of the North East Georgia Medical Centre, it is my pleasure to hand over these supplies officially to the Hospital, with the hope that we will find great benefit in them. I thank you, and I thank the Central Jamaica Conference of Seventh-day Adventists for making this possible. God bless you in all of your efforts. Thank you".
Mr Alwyn Miller, CEO, Mandeville Regional Hospital graciously accepted the donation on behalf of the Hospital. He stated, "On behalf of the [Southern Health] Authority, Mrs Herschel Ismail, our Acting Regional Director, and all members of the team at the Hospital, we are certainly appreciative of this gesture this afternoon". Mr Miller shared a story about a prayer he prayed just the other day. "It is amazing! It would almost seem that you heard a little prayer I prayed just about a week ago". Members of his team requested a locking medical cabinet. He was not sure how, but Williams said that they would have to see how this would become possible. Then, he learnt of this donation and welcomed it "with open arms".
Mr Miller stated that "Indeed your gifts are tangible, timely, and very valuable to the functioning of the Hospital". He said, "The Seventh-day Adventist island-wide family is no stranger to health. Your organisation has helped us in so many ways meeting the demands placed upon our services. Central Jamaica Conference and NCU, we are family. The partnership continues and is growing stronger. I am excited, Dr Fider, to see where this leads us in relation to our overseas partners".
Finally, Mr Williams thanked the North East Georgia Medical Centre, the GSI Foundation Jamaica Limited, and all who have come together to make today's donation possible. He said, "When we thank you, we thank you not only as an institution seeking to serve people, but we thank you on behalf of the people we serve".
It is one thing to note the blessing of such a treasured gift of medical equipment. But, without fully understanding the functionality of the medical equipment, or having a grasp of its impact on the lives of patients, the blessing will be scarcely appreciated. To mitigate against that risk, Dr Everton McIntosh, Senior Medical Officer, Mandeville Regional Hospital invested a few minutes ably showcasing the equipment and outlining their use.
This auspicious occasion concluded with a Vote of Thanks offered by Mr L. David Harris, Communication Director of the CJC, on behalf of the Conference Officers, who are dedicated to the mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church as outlined in Holy Scripture.
Note: A photo journal of this event is forthcoming.