Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Activist group promotes more access to healthcare in Arlington

ARLINGTON, Ga. (WALB) – Access to health care continues to be a big issue for rural communities in southwest Georgia.

The events took place today in Stewart, Randolph and Calhoun counties to empower voters to share their voices at the ballot box.

Black Voters Matter wants to empower people to voice their opinions at the ballot box
Black Voters Matter wants to empower people to voice their opinions at the ballot box(WALB)

Kenisha Jones, Southwest Georgia Regional Director for Black Voters Matter, said expanding Medicaid would improve access. To make that change, she wants people to vote.

At Sunday’s event, anyone was free to register to vote.

“If we are not electing officials to raise awareness and real-time solutions to problems, we will continue to fall. It’s very important that they understand the process and the importance of voting now,” Jones said.

Some residents agree with Jones.

“We need people in our office who are concerned about people who can’t afford expensive things like health care,” said Annie Thornton, an Arlington resident.

Black Voters Matter volunteers want to let South Georgia residents know that while conditions may be bad, they can change.

“Walking around we see so many dilapidated houses. There is no attention there. The community is totally concerned,” Jones said.

Jones said in her short time in Arlington she sees people suffering from a lack of access to health care.

She has spoken to people who say they cannot afford care. Jones also said that makes it an unattractive place to open hospitals.

There used to be a hospital in Arlington, but it closed many years ago, according to residents.

“A little sickness or whatever happens to you, you have to go 35 or 45 miles before you get some kind of emergency care,” Thornton said.

Albany and Colquitt are the two closest urgent care areas in Arlington.

Meanwhile, access to transport also continues to be problematic. This affects not only emergency medical care, but also some health offices that diagnose diseases such as sickle cell disease.

“They need something that’s nearby, especially in Arlington, that would provide health resources for people in the African-American community because that’s what’s affecting that population,” said Alisha Lewis, CEO and Founder of the Genesic Nonprofit. .

She said the closest place for a sickle cell diagnosis is Sylvester, which is an hour away.

Phoebe offers mobile care through their health clinic, but that doesn’t address the root of the problem, according to Jones.

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