The Jamaican Epilepsy Association was established in 2003 with a mandate to improve the quality of life of persons with epilepsy in Jamaica. In 2004 our Associations application for membership was formally ratified in Lisbon, Portugal and we were awarded full membership by the international body, The International Bureau for Epilepsy, with head office in Ireland. We are also a registered non-profit organization in Jamaica.
Our Association has done much to improve public awareness of epilepsy with the production and distribution of brochures and posters to schools, clinics, doctors offices and hospitals island wide. We have hosted several medical conferences in conjunction with the Jamaican League Against Epilepsy and we have established the Video-EEG Centre at Andrews Memorial Hospital, an overnight monitoring facility to identify and classify epilepsy, the first of its kind in the English-speaking Caribbean. Our Association offers financial aid to patients who require Video-EEG monitoring and who are unable to pay full fees. Patients are offered the service at a reduced price with a monthly pay back arrangement. No one has been turned away and many have benefitted from this special fund.
Report on the Jamaican Epilepsy Association for 2007
During the past year many of the goals of the Jamaican Epilepsy Association (JEA) have been achieved in spite of reduced corporate support locally due to a general downturn in the economy. However, we continued to persevere and achieved our main goal in October 2007 with the opening of our Secretariat at Andrews Hospital. We now have a permanent office with a Secretary to assist with the administrative duties of the JEA and a home for our members to visit. This was made possible by support from the local CHASE FUND, which donated the furniture and computer equipment for our office and the fund-raising efforts of the JEA.
The JEA raised enormous media and public interest with the production of our 2007 calendar How Does My Garden Grow which featured twelve of the islands well-known women in a garden setting. Local corporations sponsored the calendar with an uplifting message for persons with epilepsy from each model. The calendar along with our childrens book Way to Go Flash, about a Jamaican horse with epilepsy, has helped to spread the word about epilepsy. Support for both the calendar and the book has been most rewarding for the JEA.
We continued our drive for members in 2007 with many new members joining the Association. We now produce and circulate a quarterly newsletter to all members. The Association has teamed up with a human resource company, Hamilton Knight Associates which offers free resume preparation to our members and will assist with job placement in the workforce. In November we hosted a booth at the Hamilton Knight Associates trade fair. Through the kindness of a Psychiatrist and Psychologist we now offer discounted counseling to our members. Effective November 2008 the counseling will be free of cost to members.
With the guidance of our seven member executive committee and our members the JEA will continue to work closely with the Jamaican League Against Epilepsy to improve epilepsy care in Jamaica.