MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Three years after the Lions Club of Mandeville first launched the project, the health sector here is getting set to open a pathology lab to serve Manchester, St Elizabeth, and Clarendon.
Lions club member and chairman of the pathology lab project committee, Dr Hopeton Falconer, told an awards ceremony hosted by the service club recently that the building “is practically finished and painted” and there are “just for a few minor interior finishing touches” left.
The multimillion-dollar facility — built as a partnership project involving the Lions Club and the government — is located on state-owned property adjacent to the Mandeville Regional Hospital.
Lions Club fund-raising events, including “Men Who Cook” and “Medics in Concert”, alongside support from sponsors, contributed significantly to the project.
“Congrats for a monumental achievement,” Falconer told Lions club members shortly after accepting a cheque for $250,000 on behalf of the Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA). The money will go towards equipment for the laboratory.
The Ministry of Health is said to have identified funds for the bulk of the equipment.
Falconer reminded his audience that pathology services in the southern region have been “woefully lacking” for decades, with medical practitioners having to send samples to Kingston and Montego Bay
In recent years, the SRHA has employed a pathologist, but because there is no facility or equipment in the central region that person is based in Montego Bay.
“The turnaround time is very slow and makes for poor care for our patients,” said Falconer, as he emphasised the importance of the soon-to-be-opened facility in Mandeville.
During the function, a cheque for $250,000 was presented by the Lions Club to The Salvation Army-run children’s homes, Windsor Lodge and Hanbury.
Major Jacqueline Palmer, who accepted the cheque and said thanks on behalf of the children’s homes, urged audience members to get involved in mentoring such children, many of whom she said had suffered tramatic physical, mental and verbal abuse.
A cheque for $250,000 was also handed over to assist medical care for an ailing obstetric gynaecologist, Dr Christopher Fletcher.
There were also cash gifts for the Bahamas Hurricane Relief Fund and aspiring teacher Abigail Fritz, a student at Church Teachers’ College.
— Garfield Myers