FLOW Foundation has been donating funds to schools that make requests for help for more than 20 years, and Miller said that makes the event one of the highlights of the foundation’s yearly activities. “It’s one of the highlights of our year’s activities, one which we look forward to with a great amount of anticipation because of what it is doing. It is helping youngsters to showcase their talent, which also has the potential to showcase their talent to the world,” he said. Miller also encouraged the youngsters who compete at Penns to pay equal, if not more, attention to their academics even if they are excelling in track and field. “They are goodwill ambassadors for Jamaica and they can erase a lot of the negative perceptions out there with regard to Jamaica,” he said. In addition to the Penn Relays fund, FLOW Foundation also supports free Internet access to all primary schools across Jamaica that request free Internet as long as the company has the facilities in the area. The association also donates funds from its 6K road race to assist with the paediatric cancer fund in tandem with the Bustamante Children’s Hospital and provides scholarships for a final-year student of engineering studying at a local tertiary institution. FLOW Foundation executive chairman Errol K. Miller says his foundation looks forward each year to being part of something that gives young Jamaican student athletes the opportunity to display their skills on a stage such as the annual Penn Relays. FLOW Foundation on Tuesday presented high schools and tertiary institutions that will participate in this year’s event at the University of Pennsylvania’s Franklin Field in Philadelphia with sponsorship cheques totalling more than $4 million to help offset expenses to attend the track and field meeting. “Penn Relays would be attended by all kinds of scouts and coaches. It opens up the athletes to visitors in terms of athletics, but if there are people who are also doing well in academics, it also opens that door, too, in terms of scholarships to tertiary institutions abroad,” Miller told The Gleaner in an interview following the presentation at FLOW’s Carlton Crescent headquarters. LONG-TIME SUPPORTER
Region Three’s (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) Regional Health Officer (RHO) is now claiming that the “political nature” of the community of De Kendren, West Coast Demerara (WCD,) is the contributing factor that has led to the Public Health Ministry not being able to implement the “Public Health agenda” at the health centre there.One of the pipes being used by the medical personnelGuyana Times had recently reported the woes that are plaguing the De Kendren Health Centre which had caused the doctor and nurses at the facility to down tools, refusing to work. One of those woes was a major drug shortage.The health centre’s Pharmacist, Jennifer Thompson, decried the medication shortage which she said has been ongoing for a lengthy period.Thompson relayed that on many occasions, and as a result of the shortage, she was forced to use her own monies to purchase drugs for patients at the centre.“We do not get the amount of drugs and our clinic people are using the drugs. I am working at another place and sometimes I have to bring drugs from that end to give my patients. Sometimes I have to take my own money, especially to buy the types of medication needed the most here. When you go to uplift drugs, they have your book long and when you do get the drugs, it is just a few things,” Thompson complained.However, the Region’s Health Officer, Dr Ravendra Dudhnath denied that there is a shortage at the facility and in the same breath reported that two former RHOs had informed that there were grave difficulties in implementing the “public health agenda in the predominantly agricultural community based on the nature of politics there”.According to the doctor, the reports given by the pharmacist and a pensioner who reported that since October last, he was unable to receive insulin from the facility, are false.Dr Dudhnath reiterated that there “is no shortage of drugs at the facility”.Additionally, the RHO blamed the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) and a dismantled trestle for the lack of water at the centre.Nurse Nikita Johnson had reported to this publication that in order for care to be provided to patients, nurses would be forced to fetch water from aback the facility’s yard which has not been cleaned for months and as such is “high with grass!”The angered nurse decried the punishment that has to be endured at her place of work explaining “out of the kindness of my heart I go at the back to climb up on a trestle to turn on a pipe to get some water. When that tank is empty, we have no water. The clinic attendant she usually does it because she has to wipe and clean and it is very unfair to her to be putting on a long boots to go where snakes and all different things that can attack her. And I said to myself that I am not doing it anymore! When it comes to the washroom, you gotta take a bucket and throw in water over the urine and faeces and what not and that is unsanitary!”The condition of the health centre’s yard, Dudhnath explained, is as a result of tenders being out for maintenance of the yard and as a consequence he cannot employ anyone to clear it of the overgrown weeds. The RHO said his hands are “tied”.As such, the medical personnel at the health centre are calling for the officials of the Health Ministry to send a team to visit to the facility.