building better pediatric care

One day I would like to help build systems of pediatric care that are thoughtful and relevant to the people living in the communities where it is scarce. What I’ve loved about being here is meeting people whose lives are examples of this. Yesterday I met a clinical psychologist who is working to build a child and adolescent program for counseling/therapy for people with mood disorders, have been through traumas, and are otherwise victims of abuse and neglect. She was telling us about how the need is huge, how much she loves her work, and how she has gradually been able to show people some methods that they may not be familiar with, but have been helpful to them. She had a career in England for 20 years, is Jamaican born and raised and came back a few years ago to fill this need. Ove the past month I have met many people who have said the words ” we are implementing” or “this is growing”. There are many amazing minds working on building a great system here. I believe Issa Trust has plays a role here precisely because people are hungry for these upgrades and constant ways to improve as we are in the US. This organization can fulfill many needs because so many here have thought about what their needs are and have used what is provided well mostly. There is still a ways t go to get the system to where the people here would like it to be, but that can be said about our system as well. We need more primary care physicians at home, we need better access for the poor, our infant mortality is not acceptable. The spirit of growth that I’ve met here, the push for betterment, has been as familiar as it is at home. I love ward rounds and the type of questions that consultants ask of the medical officers. I gave a presentation last week to a few in Port Antonio and they ate up the information. As long as didactic is strong, we as doctors, will always learn and improve. I’ve seen that poverty is the biggest limiting factor here much as it is back home. The government provides free health care but all that folks need is not readily available in the public sector. I have to send paitnets to Kingston (2 hrs away) for a Ct scan, or they can pay a few hundred USD and get one locally. I have to send cultures to Kingston or the patient can pay up to 50 usd at a private micro lab. some families can’t afford fare to get to the places where the free services exist. Pediatric wards have social cases where the parents never return for the sickly children, or they just can’t afford to keep them well, or give their chronic meds. Some just don’t give them. Some just don’t understand. Same problems I have in Camden. I am so hopeful, though, knowing that the kids here have the great doctors that are always here with Issa to provide those docs with support where they need it. We can’t end the poverty here, but by adding even more thoughtful consistent people to the group of folks already thinking about the children here things have, and will continue to get better.

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