The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has succeeded in making a positive impact on eye care in Dominica.
The Church made a donation of equipment costing close to fifty-four hundred U.S. dollars to the eye clinic in the Ministry of Health last Friday.
Dr Griffin Benjamin is Acting Chief Medical Officer who was also representing Health Minister Hon. Julius Timothy.
He first expressed his admiration of the Mormon Church for its unwavering dedication to their cause.
“My first experience with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sometimes called the Mormon Church was in Jamaica where one can see young men neatly dressed and very committed to their work travelling on bicycles throughout the communities of Jamaica. They are well-disciplined and on a mission. I have always admired that.”
Dr. Benjamin also used the opportunity to applaud Dr. Shillingford-Ricketts for work which he says is second-to-none.
“Dr. Shillingford-Ricketts is providing specialised eye care to Dominicans at the primary care level. In other words, people in Dominica have access to optimal high quality eye-care service. There is hardly any type of service that we cannot do with the equipment that we have. I have known Dr. Shillingford-Ricketts as a very passionate worker and the equipment looks small but I am sure that she has big plans for them.”
That said, Dr. Benjamin said thanks to the Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“On behalf of the Minister and Ministry of Health I offer my thanks to your church. We will use your donation and we hope that based on the results that Dr. Shillingford-Ricketts will report, you will be impressed enough to return and to continue supporting us. We need your support and we will make you very proud of the kind of service that we are providing here in Dominica,” he said.
Consultant Ophthalmologist in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Hazel Shillingford-Ricketts, who accepted the donation, explained the thinking behind the gift.
“I was contacted by representatives of the Church in May 2012 who indicated that they were interested in helping [the local] eye care clinic. We subsequently met and I gave a brief overview of the work of the local eye care service. They realised that there were pieces of equipment that we (local ophthalmology) could use so they made the arrangements to donate the equipment.”
Dr Ricketts also expressed thanks to the donors- the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“I would really like to recognise your effort and to say how I appreciate what you have done for us because it will enhance what we do. From my research on the church, I recognise that you are involved in a number of projects all over the world and the underlying principal of your work is to strengthen the recipients so that they can help themselves. You empower the beneficiaries to look after themselves and their communities instead of you doing the work for them. The Church provides the recipients with the education or tools needed to perform the task. I must say that this is a very good principal for helping persons …and I appreciate what you have done for us and on behalf of our
Patients, the ministry of health, staff and Dominica on a whole, I would like to thank you very much and I hope this is not the end of our collaboration but we do appreciate the start.”
Elder Darrel Hammon of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says his organisation is pleased to be able to make such a donation to Dominica’s eye care efforts.
He also said that this donation marks the beginning of a beneficial relationship.
“[Dr. Shillingford-Ricketts mentioned that she hoped this would not be the end of our collaboration] and it will not be. We hope that we can assist Dominica as much as we can because that is what we do. This is a donation especially from members of the church, every individual donates toward humanitarian aid as much as he/she can and we ensure that it is used for the benefit of mankind. We would like to say to Dominicans that we will aim to do more and assist you as much as we can.”
Elder Hammon also told Dr. Shillingford-Ricketts that “As a doctor you take your calling very seriously and I can see the promotion of health here in Dominica especially in the area of eye care.”
Received by the Ministry of Health was a portable slit lamp, a portable indirect ophthalmoscope and a laptop computer.