HANOVER, Jamaica –The Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA) was, last weekend, presented with 20 medical emergency backpacks valued at $1.3million by the Issa Trust Foundation during an official handing-over ceremony held at Couples Negril.
The backpacks that are to be distributed among the four western parishes of Westmoreland, Trelawny, Hanover, and St James, were sourced through Direct Relief, a non-profit humanitarian organisation that provides emergency medical assistance and disaster relief.
Eric Clarke, chairman of the board of WRHA, and St Andrade Sinclair, WRHA’s regional director, who received the equipment on behalf of their organisation, told OBSERVER ONLINE the donation will “fill a need in the region.”
Each backpack contains medical equipment and supplies. Clarke said not all contained the same things, but they were varied to suit specific requirements.
Diane Pollard, president and CEO of Issa Trust Foundation, and Paul Issa, chairman of the Trust, joined the ceremony via zoom.
Clarke, who said he was “overly impressed with the Issa Trust Foundation in meeting the needs of the institutions,” told OBSERVER ONLINE that the knapsacks would enhance the service provided by WRHA.
“If we were to have a mass casualty, we have carts in the hospitals that have the critical equipment, so you push the cart to wherever, but when you go to the health centres where it is not normal that you get them, you really need a go-to with supplies and these bags have everything,” Clarke explained.
He went on to explain that the contents of the bags served different purposes, “some are for burns, some are for orthopaedic but you can just pick up a bag and have most of what you need.”
The WRHA chairman stressed that the authority has an obligation to ensure that the donation is used properly.
“Once the product was identified it was realised that we needed it. What we have to do is not use it and pull it apart but it must stay intact so in an emergency we can just lift up the bag and move with it, so we are not supposed to use out the supplies and when we need it there is nothing in there, so that is the important thing and that will be important on our part,” said Clarke.
Sinclair highlighted the need for the emergency supplies.
“Any donation now helps WRHA and in general health care systems inJamaica, we have just gone through a pandemic and the world has suffered so we welcome any corporate citizen goodwill and Issa has always been there,” he argued.
“There was a need for the equipment, these are equipment that is used in primary care or on ambulances and they are well-needed. Our clinics, especially our outpatient clinics will utilise them, they are well equipped, they include stethoscope, blood pressure machines, gauze, over the counter medicines and a lot of emergency stuff that can be utilised quickly.”
Pollard said her organisation “had been working with Direct Relief for several years, they are one of top 10 non-profits in the world and we hope the donations will be beneficial to the region.”