Ziraili Manumohalland, a student of Alpha Infant School, anchors himself in the new dental chair at Alpha Dental Clinic and gives lion-sized yawning access to dentist Dr Kimberly Freeman (second left) for an oral examination. Sharing the moment are (from left) Chief executive officer, Sisters of Mercy, Marcia Tai Chun; Sister Susan Frazer, Religious Sisters of Mercies area administrator, Sisters of Mercy of Jamaica; Sherona Mallette, student from Convent of Mercy “Alpha”; Academy, Nadine Pottinger, assistant vice-president, Employee Benefits Sales Division, Guardian Life; and Dr Alfred Atkinson, consultant dental surgeon.
THE Alpha Dental Clinic on South Camp Road in Kingston is now able to treat an average of 300 students monthly, up from 150, thanks to last week’s donation by the Guardian Group Foundation of a new dental operating chair.
Valued at $2.85 million, the dental operating chair, complete with peripherals and vital attachments, is a significant asset to the clinic’s programme of providing quality dental health care not only to students at the five educational institutions based at the Alpha campus, but to the extended Alpha community.
In making the presentation, Nadine Pottinger, Guardian Life’s assistant vice-president, Employee Benefits Division Sales, emphasised that it is the clinic’s focus on the promotion of preventive health care that helped to seal Guardian’s participation in this social partnership.
“It is one of our main pillars of focus and we were particularly impressed by the sustained delivery of a high standard of oral health care, even continuously through the novel coronavirus pandemic.”
For 25 years the Alpha Dental Clinic has operated in a social partnership with the Ministry of Health and Wellness to provide access to dental support services to the approximately 4,000 students on Alpha’s South Camp Road campus.
Under this agreement the health ministry’s South East Regional Health Authority provides the technical staff including a supervising dentist. The current supervising dentist, Dr Kimberley Freeman, who was on hand to receive and test the equipment, expressed her gratitude for the timely investment in the facility.
“It was what we requested and more. This will allow my team and I, with the aid of the best available technology, to escalate treatment and extend our heartfelt care,” said Freeman.
The dental clinic is an initiative of the Sisters of Mercy Jamaica, who have already mobilised and invested more than $16 million to refurbish and upgrade the facility, boosted by contributions in cash and kind from the National Health Fund and a United States-based partner organisation. Expressing appreciation for the donation, Sister Susan Frazer of the Sisters of Mercy stressed that the potential social impact is incalculable.
“Our enhanced ability to serve the extended Alpha family, including our neighbours, will leave a lasting impact on the lives of the children and their families, not only in their dental health but in their overall integration into the education system, and their levels of performance in life,” said Frazer. A registered charitable organisation under the Charities Act of Jamaica (2013), the Sisters of Mercy have been garnering resources to serve marginalised communities in Jamaica since 1880.