PAYNESVILLE, Montserrado – Several residents gathered Friday at the Paynesville City Annual Health Fair for free medical services.
The event was the fourth of its kind since the mayor of Paynesville, Cyvette Gibson, initiated it. The fair is aimed at giving back to residents of the city and promoting healthy lives. It was held simultaneously with the launch of the first round of polio vaccine immunizations for 2017.
Paynesville’s special project officer Stephanie Kpoto said the event has impacted the lives of many residents of Paynesville and other localities.
Speaking briefly at the launch of the event, Mayor Gibson said the health fair is an event employees of the city corporation hold very closely to their hearts.
She said this year’s event was focused especially on diabetes. She encouraged the attendees to get tested.
“We want to see if you are diabetic. If you are diabetic, we want you to come back to us for a wristband that you would wear to indicate that you are a diabetic,” Gibson said. “The doctor would know that you are a diabetic and they must not give you glucose.”
According to Gibson, many deaths have occurred in the country because practitioners at medical facilities administer drips to patients who are diabetic.
She praised the WHO, UNICEF and local organizations that continue to support the annual event. Gibson added that because of the growing demand for health services, the fair would now be held twice a year.
WHO Liberia Communication Officer Luwaga Liliane assured the organization’s continuous support to the annual event and other initiatives that would promote healthy lives.
Liliane said her organization was proud to partners with the Paynesville City authorities in bringing together different health service organizations to provide free examinations.
Some residents gathered at the Paynesville Town Hall as early as 6:00 a.m. on Friday even though the kick-off of the event was at 10:30 a.m.
Although services at government health facilities are relatively cheap, some of the residents said they can experience too many delays in getting treatment at the public facilities.
Rose Peter, a mother of a two-year-old baby, was among the more than 2,000 individuals who had gone to seek treatment at the health fair.
Although she is aware of the free health policy at public health facilities, Peter said she lives too far from a public facility.
“Most times it can take long hours to get treatment at the government clinic,” she said.
Another resident, Mathaline Zeon, said the government facilities often make referrals at pharmacists for drugs and essential treatments.
“Every time they will say there are no drugs,” Zeon added.
For his part, Michael Davis, another attendee, said he came to the fair for an eye exam because most public facilities do not offer eye care services.
Meanwhile, the county health officer for Montserrado, Dr. Wiatta Warpo, said the Paynesville Health Fair was in support of the Ministry of Health’s programs to build a resilient health system.
Warpo encouraged residents of Paynesville to take their children under five to receive the polio vaccine.
“This vaccination will help to prevent them from getting crippled from the disease called polio,” she said.
She said the campaign will run between Feb. 24 and 27.
Several health organizations partnered with the city to provide free services at the health fair, including the Planned Parenthood Association, Montserrado Health Team, Family Health Center, National Blood Safety Program, Hope for Women, James Davis Hospital, New Eye Center and One Source Pharmacy.
Services provided included eye and blood testing, family planning, malaria and typhoid treatments, and health awareness.
Featured photo by Gbatemah Senah