Sav hospital receives PPE donationThursday, November 25, 2021
BY DAINA DAVY
SAVANNA-LA-MAR, Westmoreland — The Savanna-la-Mar Public General Hospital was the grateful beneficiary of new personal protective equipment (PPE) from good Samaritans across the diaspora, and friends from home.
Last Thursday, Kerrian Gunning-Mason, a registered nurse at the Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn, New York, who was raised in Little London in Westmoreland, presented boxes of PPE to hospital administrators.
A donation drive was organised in New York by Gunning-Mason and other Jamaicans locally and internationally, where equipment was donated to assist the hospital in its fight against the novel coronavirus.
“The drive was initiated by myself, but it was supported by members of the Westmoreland fraternity who are now living abroad from different states and different cities,” Gunning-Mason told the Jamaica Observer West.
She added that the outpouring of support from different individuals was overwhelming.
“When they heard about what I was trying to do for the hospital, they decided to collaborate with me and that is how we got the supplies that we are going to be handing over to the hospital,” said Gunning-Mason.
She expressed that as a nurse, she knew first-hand what the staff of the Savanna-la-Mar Hospital has been going through over the last few months and wanted to assist in any way she could.
“I'm not running an organisation, I'm just in the same fraternity. I had to work when the pandemic just started and we were not prepared for it, so I've had to work under less than fortunate situations where we didn't have PPE,” Gunning-Mason explained.
“I heard about what was happening here, so I just wanted to see how best I could help.”
Earlier this year, the country saw a significant surge in COVID cases, and hospitals across the island were under strain as a result of not having enough bed space and equipment to treat COVID patients. The Savanna-la-Mar Hospital was one of the most affected hospitals.
One of the supporters and organisers of the donation drive, Ann-Marie Patrick, was also present for the handing over.
“The Savanna-la-Mar Hospital is a community hospital and one I would have benefited from as a resident of this community. I was given the privilege to help to organise this initiative that came about from Mrs [Gunning]-Mason. When I see these kinds of things I really jump to it because I understand that it's part of the role that we need to play as human beings,” Patrick explained.
She added that she hopes that residents who see the initiative will be inclined to make further donations.
“Oftentimes, we are not encouraged to do anything because we think that what we're doing is not enough, but I want to encourage people, whether from the business community, or just regular people, to do whatever you can because as long as it is coming from a place of positivity and kindness, it will make an impact,” she argued.
On site to accept the donation on behalf of the hospital was Hazeline Forrester, director of nursing services at the hospital.
“We are really thankful for these PPEs because now that we are in the pandemic, these are needed items because we use them every day. These will help the staff to be better able to take care of themselves,” Forrester stated.
Acting CEO Sherene Wint-Leslie recalled a time when the staff was running out of equipment during the surge.
“We are very grateful to Mrs [Gunning]-Mason and everyone who donated. Back in August when the hospital was over capacity and the nurses were running out of PPEs, it was very hard, so we are extremely grateful today. These will tide us over for a while,” she stated.
Other stakeholders who were present for the handing over of the equipment were Sherika Spence, the hospital's materials management officer, and councillor for the Little London division Ian Myles (People's National Party).