Recipes To Dine For
TopBanner Righttop
Sampling a pint at the George in London
AB1 Since 1996 our hospital (Deaconess Hospital in Evansville, Indiana) has had a sister hospital in Annotto Bay, Jamaica. Annotto Bay is 109 miles east of Montego Bay. It sits on the beautiful northeastern coast and is part of St. Mary Parish. Jamaica is made up of twelve parishes and St. Mary is considered the poorest parish on the island. Annotto Bay has a population of a couple thousand people. However, because it is the only hospital for many miles, it serves thousands of patients in the surrounding villages and mountains.
In 1996 Annotto Bay Hospital was in great danger of being closed down due to poor sanitary conditions and general disrepair of the hospital. Over the last 12 years and 21 trips our hospital has made major upgrades to the hospital. Twelve years ago Annotto Bay Hospital was considered one of the worst Class C hospitals in the country of Jamaica. Its status has recently been upgraded from a Class C to a Class B hospital and it is considered one of, if not the best Class B hospital in the country. Since our involvement, their medical staff has grown from 2 full time doctors to a recent high of 26 doctors. AB2
AB3 Once or twice a year our team of doctors, nurses, family medicine residents, nursing students, building and maintenance staff, and other hospital personnel travels to Annotto Bay. The medical part of our team travels to four rural "clinics" to provide medical care to those who otherwise would not have access to it and many can't afford it. A large percentage of the Jamaican population has diabetes, high blood pressure, or both. Many of these patients have no way to get medication for their conditions. We take a large supply of generic medications to distribute to these kind and grateful people. Here we are at Epsom General Baptist Church. We are getting a warm welcome from Reverend Kenneth Kirby before we start caring for his congregation. Most days we see 100-150 patients at each clinic.
One of our favorite clinics is Camberwell School. Camberwell School is about 5 miles from Annotto Bay and the Carribean Sea. The road is so bad it takes about an hour to drive there. Many of the school children say they have never seen the ocean. We see patients in the back of the school, which is in reality a pole-barn like structure. It was built in the 40's or 50's when the British still occupied the island. The only light for our clinic is provided by sunlight that filters through the corrugated plastic roof. It was built as a hurricane shelter but now is grade school for about 100 children who live on this beautiful but remote montain peak. AB4
AB5 Another mountain stop for us is Long Road Clinic. Long Road Clinic is staffed by a wonderful nurse practitioner, Mrs. Lilith Henderson. She takes very good care of us and always makes sure we have a hot lunch with curried goat of course. We are told that for the last few years we are the only medical group that is braving the hazardous road to the top of their world. Long Road, like Camberwell, is home to a large community of Jamaicans, mainly farmers, who have no access to traditional medical care.
Our trip usually ends with a visit to our makeshift clinic at the Dover Seventh Day Adventist Church and School. A couple years ago one of our nurses affectionately called this the "Cadillac" of Jamaican clinics. That's because it has fans, and a bathroom. This tends to be our busiest clinic day. We usually see 150-200 patients in about 6 hours. We are able to see a large number of patients in a relatively short period of time due to the JEMR. This is the Jamaica Electronic Medical Record program that was written by Dr. Hindahl. We use it to track our patients' problems, their blood pressures, blood sugars, and the medications we give them. We have over 1800 patients in the JEMR and some of them have blood pressures and blood sugars recorded during our visits over the last 5 years. AB6


This page is dedicated to all of our wonderful friends who live in Jamaica. They have made our lives much more rich than they ever could have been had we not met them. They have taught us that happiness is possible while owning very little. They have taught us that we are truly spoiled to live and practice medicine in the United States.


They have taught us that when you are 90 and you have severe arthritis of your knees, that walking a mile and a half up a steep mountain road to get some tylenol is worth the trip. It certainly makes the trip worth it for us.

Dr. Norma Will and Dr. Greg Hindahl

HomeBottomleft Copyright HomeBottomright