March 22, 2011
The Patsy Douglas Medical Missions


One of the often overlooked benefits of having well-educated and well connected Vincentians in the Diaspora, is the services which they make available to their homeland – services for which we would ordinarily have to travel overseas and pay large sums of money to access.{{more}}

Very high on the list of critical interventions made by our nationals living overseas is the medical missions they organize. Many of these missions partner with local churches or service clubs, while others work directly through the Ministry of Health.

Just recently, US-based Vincentian gastroenterologist Dr. Stephen Nanton spearheaded the donation of an endoscopy machine to the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital and organized the visit of a team of ten specialists who spent two weeks here providing specialist services, mainly in the area of gastroenterology.

Now this week, the Patsy Douglas Medical Mission is here, and will be holding clinics around the country, with a Health Fair scheduled for this Friday at the Peace Memorial Hall. This mission is headed by Vincentian nurse Ann Marie Lee-Wilkins and includes popular Searchlight columnist and Endocrinologist, Vincentian Dr Anita Ramsetty.

Diabetes is a silent killer and one which is the cause of very serious morbidity and mortality in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. This is the second year that the Patsy Douglas mission will be conducting clinics here, with special emphasis being placed this year on patients who have had amputations. No doubt, after their visit last year, the team saw the need to pay special attention to the large number of diabetic amputees in our midst and do what they could to educate diabetics, health care providers and the general public about measures which may be taken to reduce the incidence of diabetic amputations.

In most cases in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, once a patient has had an amputation, his or her quality of life deteriorates rapidly, as his or her chances of being gainfully employed are reduced drastically; and the patient becomes virtually housebound, as the physical layout of our town, the inaccessibility of many of our buildings and our transportation system do not make it easy for persons with physical disabilities to move around.

We welcome the Patsy Douglas Medical Mission and thank them for donating their time and resources for yet another year. We urge all diabetics and the general public to take full advantage of the availability of these specialists in our midst.