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SickKids and Scotiabank working to help children fight cancer

Sunday, September 27, 2020

THE SickKids-Caribbean Initiative (SCI), funded in part by Scotiabank, continues to improve access to health services for children in six Caribbean countries who are diagnosed with cancer and blood disorders.

As telemedicine partner and key supporter of the programme for many years, Scotiabank said in a release that it has seen first-hand the importance of the programme, which connects health care professionals in the six Caribbean countries with specialists at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Canada, in order to provide life-saving treatment for their young patients.

Since the launch of SCI, a total of seven telemedicine facilities have been completed across the region, with Jamaica currently benefiting through the University Hospital of the West Indies and Bustamante Hospital for Children, both in Kingston.

The bank said, to date, SCI has also provided training for more than 40 oncology and haematology professionals in the Caribbean, facilitated more than 500 telemedicine consultations with SickKids for sick patients in the Caribbean, and provided critical support through diagnostic screening and research.

Scotiabank has also supported the establishment of hospital-based paediatric oncology patient registries in each of the six SCI partner countries, to help track patient outcomes and leverage this data to implement quality improvements for life-saving cancer care for children, the release said.

“Prior to the launch of this initiative in 2013, young people in the Caribbean diagnosed with cancer and blood disorders faced major systemic challenges as there were few specialised diagnostic services, minimal data on treatment efficacy, and few health care professionals with specialised training in the region. SickKids recognised the opportunity to make a difference and we remain grateful to corporate leaders like Scotiabank for their continued support, as the first financial institution to donate CAD 1 million to the programme and for the additional CAD 1 million gift to support phase two,” said Ted Garrard, CEO, SickKids Foundation, who is quoted in the release.

“Our support of the SCI allows for the strengthening of the infrastructure available and the capacity of our doctors and nurses in Jamaica to take care of children with diseases like leukaemia and sickle cell disease. This increased capacity also means more timely and accurate diagnoses as well as high- quality follow-up care, which of course, enables our nation's children to have the best chance and recovery,” said David Noel, president and CEO of Scotiabank Jamaica.

“Scotiabank has always been a long-standing supporter of initiatives that help to improve the quality of health care in the territories we operate. Our association with SickKids is also very special to us because it directly impacts our youth,” Noel added.

With the support of SickKids Foundation, the SickKids-Caribbean Initiative was created in partnership with the SickKids Centre for Global Child Health and The University of the West Indies, ministries of health and key hospitals and institutions in The Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago.