Health

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Issa Trust Foundation hosts benefit concert for hospital's Paediatric Ward

BY ANIKA RICHARDS
Associate editor — news
richardsai@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, June 18, 2017



FROM being unable to provide medical care to vulnerable babies because it lacked resources to now helping patients from other hospitals, the capacity of the Paediatric Ward at the St Ann's Bay Regional Hospital has improved over the last five years.

Doctors at the institution have attributed the department's transformation to assistance from Issa Trust Foundation, which partnered with the hospital in 2012.

Head of the department, paediatric consultant Dr Annamarie Woodham-Auden, told the Jamaica Observer on Thursday that before the foundation partnered with the institution, babies in distress had to be transported to other hospitals for care.

“We were not able to offer ventilation, which is life support, for premature babies or babies who are in distress; we were not able to offer that. We would have to put them in a helicopter and transport them to either Bustamante [Hospital for Children] or University [Hospital of the West Indies], or Cornwall [Regional Hospital].

“And that was if bed space was available. Oftentimes there was no bed space and the babies would not survive,” she said.

“So when the Issa Trust [Foundation] came on board in 2012, they donated ventilators, they trained our staff — our doctors, our nurses — in how to use the ventilators,” Dr Woodham-Auden continued. “They have flown down experts in neonatology to put on conferences … and give us guidelines to use in the nursery, and they have also flown down biotechnologists twice a year to maintain the ventilators, and they have provided monitors and all the supporting equipment that we need for the programme to continue.”

The paediatric consultant noted that it is through the efforts of the Issa Trust Foundation that the St Ann's Bay Regional Hospital has a neonatal intensive care nursery.

“We are [now] able to help our babies when they are in distress and when their lungs fail. We have had hundreds of babies benefit from this assistance,” she said, adding that they now get calls from other hospitals asking them to take their patients because they do not have the equipment that St Ann's Bay has.

And more support is coming for the Paediatric Ward.

On June 24, Issa Trust Foundation will host the concert, 'An Evening with Air Supply', at Couples San Souci in Ocho Rios, St Ann. The concert will also feature Tessanne Chin.

According to the foundation's chairman, Paul Issa, all proceeds from the event will go to the Paediatric Ward at St Ann's Bay Regional Hospital.

“We hope to raise a significant amount of money from this concert… It's not just a matter of making and fixing things; it's a matter of putting in the necessary equipment to be able to offer the best possible health care to the children who are admitted into this hospital,” Issa said in March, during a briefing on the hospital's grounds in St Ann, to launch the concert. “So that's our goal and that the hospital's goal and we are trying to help the hospital reach its goal.”

Issa told the Observer then that the organisers are hoping to attract between 2,000 and 3,000 attendees. Tickets are $20,000 for VIP access and $10,000 for general admission.

“ It's pricey, but it's hopefully still affordable for people who want to come out and support the hospital and hear some good music,” he said.

According to the organisers of the concert, the fund-raiser's goal is to refurbish and equip the Paediatric Ward. This will include new beds for the 28-bed ward and four-bed isolation area, with each bed being fully equipped with oxygen, suction, patient monitor, nebuliser, and infusion pump, as well as bedside lighting, storage, privacy curtains, fans, and a bedside chair for the parent.

Also, two bed spaces next to the nursing station will be equipped to serve as a high-dependency area for close monitoring of severely ill children.

The organisers also intend to replace the oxygen cylinders currently being used in the treatment room with piped oxygen. They also intend to mount two televisions on the wall of the ward and install DVDs to provide entertainment for the children.

“We are making a difference. Each year we seem to be able to do a little bit more and we are happy about that,” the foundation's chairman said. “A lot of people have come on board and a lot of it has to do with [the fact that] they know the work we do on the ground and they know we don't just throw money at an institution or just give them a machine – we teach them how to use the machine, we train them how to fix the machine when necessary. So we try and give in a way that is meaningful and that's going to have an ongoing impact.”

Last year, according to Issa, the foundation donated pharmaceuticals and other items valued at US$8 million to the public health system.

Their efforts have not gone unnoticed. Chairman of the St Ann's Bay Regional Hospital Management Committe Michael Belnavis, who was at the fund-raiser's launch in March, lauded the foundation for its philanthropic approach.

“What Issa Trust Foundation has done over the last 10 years has been short of remarkable. You can only walk into the paediatric department and it's state of the art. And not only is it one of the best paediatric [departments] in the area and certainly can compete with anything in Jamaica, it is fully equipped, it is well maintained, it has all the equipment necessary and all the disposables necessary to have a safe delivery system of paediatrics and young children. It is truly one of the best aspects of the St Ann's Bay Hospital system,” he said.

According to Belnavis, the Issa Trust Foundation is doing so much for the St Ann's Bay Regional Hospital that “they are our number one supporter”.

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