JAMAICA'S battle against prostate cancer was bolstered by yesterday's donation of medical equipment valued at US$30,000 to the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) in downtown Kingston and the Mandeville Regional Hospital in Manchester, respectively.
The donation was a collaborative effort of the Rotary Club of St Andrew North and the America-based Rotary Club of Vienna.
At the KPH handover function, Patrick Gillings — past president of the St Andrew North outfit — said the gesture was in keeping with the club's mandate.
"Health care is and will always remain an important pillar for national, economic and social development in every country in the world," Gillings told the small gathering.
"We're proud that we're doing our very small part in ensuring, as a nation, we take one more step up the ladder of providing the highest possible quality health care to our citizens," he continued.
Lyttleton Shirley — South East Regional Health Authority's (SERHA) board chairman — said the equipment would assist in boosting the hospital's Urology Department's ability to fight and diagnose prostate cancer in patients.
"Today's donation means that the Urology Department will not only be able to do more biopsies, especially those of an emergency nature, but it will also significantly reduce the waiting period for patients requiring this service. Jamaica has one of the highest prostate cancer mortality rates in the Caribbean," Shirley said.
The board chairman said, according to Jamaica Cancer Society statistics, 54 out of every 100,000 men die from prostate cancer each year.
"We are glad we can count on partners like the Rotary Club to lend us a helping hand," he added.
Dr Leroy Harrison, KPH's Urology Department head, said prostate cancer patients numbered half among of persons visiting that section of the hospital.
"Having our own ultrasound machine will allow us to spend more time, processing more patients for prostate biospies. We'll be able to diagnose patients in a shorter time and treat them in a timely manner," Dr Harrison told the Jamaica Observer.
The equipment includes a portable ultrasound system; a convex/abdominal probe; microconvex/endocavity probe; two endocavity biopsy bracket/needle guide; two ultra automatic biospy guns; 20 biopsy needles; and 20 hyperdermic needles.