Local, state and national leaders were all on hand for the ribbon cutting at the new center for women at Greater Meridian Health Clinic. The special guests, Congressman Chip Pickering, the head of the National Association of Community Health Centers, and the Deputy Secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services, Claude A. Allen.
"This clinic ranks right at the top in comparison to all of the clinics that we have in the country. It's a unique facility. Not only is it providing quality healthcare and services to those who often times don't have them, but there's also a strong education component here," Claude Allen said.
"Prevention is the key! Here at the clinic we are making more of an effort to speak to churches and schools about things they can do to help us change bad health habits to positive ones," said Wilbert Jones, CEO for Greater Meridian Health Clinic, Inc.
Jones say it is things such as the new women's clinic that will help the clinic reach that goal. Staffed with one full-time OB/GYN, one doctor who is volunteering part-time, a nurse practitioner, and several additional nurses, over the next year clinical officials estimate that the new center will attract an additional 7,000 patients to the clinic. Serving more than 20,000 last year alone, Congressman Pickering says it is obvious that such facilities are needed.
"As we know the well being of a person and a community is tied to that person's health. If we have good healthcare, that is accessible, affordable and is quality healthcare, then we can attract jobs. This can also help our economy in other ways. Aside from that, it's just that the well-being of each person and family is what community is all about," said Jones.
As part of the celebration officials with the Greater Meridian Health clinic also vowed to continue their partnership with Pfizer pharmaceuticals. As part of this effort, the clinic provides free prescription drugs to patients who qualify.
Meanwhile, as for the new women's clinic it will open Monday at 8 a.m. It's hours are from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday throughout Friday and from 8 a.m. until noon on Saturdays.
The Greater Meridian Health Clinic serves residents in Lauderdale, Kemper, Noxubee and Winston counties.