Beneficiaries of Guardian's Keep it Alive 5K grateful

Observer staff reporter

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

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BENEFICIARIES of this year's Guardian Group Foundation Keep it Alive 5K night runs are expected to receive equipment vital to their day-to-day operations, following this year's staging of the two-part event.

Already, the foundation has raised and donated $80 million in equipment to hospitals over the last six years, and is hoping to add to that by raising $35 million when it hosts night runs on May 25 and June 1 in Kingston and Montego Bay, respectively.

Among this year's beneficiaries are Cornwall Regional Hospital, University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI), Kingston Public Hospital (KPH), Mandeville Regional Hospital, and St Ann's Bay Regional Hospital.

Yesterday, UHWI's Medical Chief of Staff Dr Carl Bruce expressed gratitude to the foundation, having been a beneficiary since 2014.

“At that time, the country had less than 30 intensive care unit beds and the university [hospital] had more than 50 per cent of those beds. Guardian [Group] saw it necessary, at that time, to intervene and help the university [hospital] refurbish the intensive care unit. The relationship has developed over the years to the point where several departments have now benefited from the Keep it Alive 5K runs,” Dr Bruce told editors and reporters at the Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange at the newspaper's Beechwood Avenue office in St Andrew.

He said the various equipment that the foundation has so far donated to hospitals across the country have significantly offset the issues affecting the health sector.

“A partnership like this goes well beyond corporate citizenship for us. The university continues to work with Guardian [Group Foundation] not only because we were [there] at the beginning but [because] of their extended reach. They also do the mobile unit and so we are able to go into many communities and take health care to many communities, and I have seen the impact,” he emphasised.

The foundation has, among other things, donated mobile ultrasound units to the hospital, which Dr Bruce said have eliminated logistics difficulties when treating patients in critical condition.

This year, the foundation has invested in Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) equipment for the hospital — the first of its kind in the English-speaking Caribbean, according to Dr Bruce.

The ECMO machine is similar to the heart-lung bypass machine used in open-heart surgery. It pumps and oxygenates a patient's blood outside the body, allowing the heart and lungs to rest.

The foundation has also equipped UHWI's operating room with equipment for minimal access or minimally invasive surgery.

“Those two pieces of equipment are certainly state-of-the-art and for that, we are very, very grateful in the health community for what Guardian does for us and for what this 5K does,” Dr Bruce noted.

Head of the department of surgery at KPH Dr Lindberg Simpson also thanked the foundation for listing the hospital — one of the island's oldest medical institutions.

Dr Simpson explained that KPH's procurement department has had to prioritise on a needs basis, over the years, but is hoping that the foundation's donation will help the Type A hospital to improve its surgical equipment.

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