Clarendon teachers push initiative for dialysis machine in the parish
THE DEATH of Clarendon College teacher Eugonando Williams as a result of diabetic complications saw the Clarendon chapter of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) staging a run/walk last Thursday in Chapelton to bring awareness to renal failure, and also to campaign for a dialysis machine to be placed in the hospital.
The run/walk, which began at Ivy Store and concluded on the compound of the school, was done in the hope that more awareness would be brought to the need for teachers to take better care of themselves.
Winston Smith, president of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association, said the hope is that teachers will recognise the value of life beyond the classroom.
With renal failure affecting not just teachers, but others across the country, he said the mandate is to sensitise neighbours, friends and the country as a whole on the importance of good health, and to do whatever they can to help to mitigate the number of persons who are dying from renal failure.
“A part of my mandate and initiative of the JTA is to seek to procure a dialysis machine to make it available in hospitals so that teachers, first and foremost, will have access to this machine should they require same. We want to not only just make it available for teachers, but we also want to partner with the nurses association and the police federation as well,” Smith noted.
As such, he said the intention is to seek dialogue with both organisations’ presidents as well as work in conjunction with the diaspora health task force in going about to procure the dialysis machine.
Still a work in progress, Smith said the run/walk is meant to shed light on the issue with the hope that others will come on board. He also implored teachers to ensure to take better care of themselves by finding the right balance between work and exercise.
Stressing the importance of exercise, Smith said it is critical to mitigate against lifestyle diseases. Pointing out the nature of teachers jobs that can see them sometimes being so caught up in lesson plans, among other duties, he implored them to remember that they are humans.
“Sometimes as educators, we pay so much attention to educating the nation’s children at the expense of our own physical, mental and emotional health, so we want teachers and the general population to understand that teachers are human beings and we do suffer hurt, pain, grief, loss, emotional stress and so forth, all of these things affect us,” he notes.
Eugonando Williams’ children, Quaid and Phaedra, as well as his widow Angela, were also on hand to witness the run/walk.
The late teacher’s son, Quaid, commenting on the event, said having gone through the process he now appreciates the awareness being brought to the issue. He said his father would have loved the idea, pointing out that he probably wouldn’t have run, but would still love it.
His daughter Phaedra remembers her father as someone who loved getting things done, and said she knows he won’t want them to grieve too long.
“Several months ago when grandma passed, he went on by getting things done, so now we are getting the necessary arrangements made and when the process is over, when the final day has come we will grieve, we will cry some, but Daddy was the type of person who would not want us to be extremely depressed, we know he would say ‘all right, get yourselves together now’, so we are just trying to honour his memory that way,” she shared.