- A telemedicine centre has opened at the Bustamante Hospital for Children, which will facilitate video consultation among doctors for effective diagnosis and treatment of children with cancers and blood disorders.
- The state-of-the-art facility, established at a cost of CAD$8 million, is an initiative of SickKids International in partnership with Scotiabank and Quick Play Media.
- It is one of six facilities established throughout the region, with centres already opened in the Bahamas, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
A telemedicine centre has opened at the Bustamante Hospital for Children, which will facilitate video consultation among doctors for effective diagnosis and treatment of children with cancers and blood disorders.
The state-of-the-art facility, established at a cost of J$8 million, is an initiative of SickKids International in partnership with Scotiabank and Quick Play Media.
It is one of six facilities established throughout the region, with centres already opened in the Bahamas, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The Bustamante centre is equipped with a Polycom Group 700 videoconferencing system, two big screen monitors, along with all applicable mounting gear, cabling, and infrastructure.
Doctors in Jamaica will, via this technology, converse with specialists in hospitals in Canada and across the Caribbean to compare case studies, formulate diagnoses and discuss best care scenarios for patients.
Director of McCaig Magee Family Medical and the SickKids-Caribbean Initiative, Dr. Victor Blanchette, said the project seeks to share resources, tools and knowledge, to build capacity in the Caribbean to achieve and even surpass the 80 per cent cure rate for paediatric cancers in Canada.
“Working together, our goal is to identify and to eliminate, wherever possible, existing challenges in the diagnosis, treatment and management of children with cancer and blood disorders. We wish for every child in the participating countries to have equal access to timely diagnosis and effective treatment, with the hope of curing these devastating diseases,” he said.
Board Chairman for the South East Regional Health Authority, Dr. Andrei Cooke, said the establishment of a telemedicine centre in Jamaica means that the country is one step closer to first world best practices in patient care.
Noting that the Bustamante Hospital for Children sees about 25 to 30 paediatric cancer cases annually, Dr. Cooke noted that the centre will now allow doctors to diagnose and treat these cases in a more timely manner.
President and Chief Executive Officer, Scotiabank Group, Jacqueline Sharp, said the institution is honoured to be part of an initiative that will enhance the country’s ability to quickly diagnose and better treat children suffering from rare diseases, including cancers.
She informed that since the opening of the first telemedicine facilities in the Bahamas and Barbados in 2014, there have been 51 opportunities for consultancy and second-opinion diagnoses.
Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Quick Play Media, Wayne Purboo, noted that his vision is for the facility to become a place of hope for children with cancer and other serious illnesses in the Caribbean.
For his part, Canadian High Commissioner to Jamaica, His Excellency Robert Ready, said he feels privileged to be part of such an important initiative.
“Cancer is a tough disease. But tough as it is, there are advancements in diagnosis and treatments that can improve outcomes. It shouldn’t matter if a child with paediatric cancer is in Canada or the Caribbean to have the same potential for a positive outcome,” he noted.
The telemedicine project involves hundreds of health care professionals in the Caribbean and Canada, to facilitate case consultations, and knowledge transfer.
In addition to the opportunities for faster diagnosis, the centres can be used for education and capacity-building of medical professionals.