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JIS News

The London-based charity Chain of Hope is working with the authorities in Jamaica and two United States-based aid organisations, to raise US$1 million to strengthen the cardiac programme at the Bustamante Hospital for Children in Kingston.
The money will go towards increasing the number of intensive care unit (ICU) beds from five to 10, and the establishment of a cardiac catheter laboratory, which would allow the hospital to treat more young heart patients.
Representatives of Chain of Hope, including Executive Director, Emma Scanlan, and Cardiologist at the Bustamante Hospital, Dr. Sharonne Forrester, called on High Commissioner, His Excellency Anthony Johnson, at his London office earlier this week, to outline the plans.
Ms. Scanlan, who spoke was with JIS News after the meeting, said that the objective is to develop a self-sustaining cardiac programme at the Bustamante Hospital.
“What we want to do is to eventually have a cardiac programme that is self-sustaining, so that the local team can manage all the cardiac surgeries for children in Jamaica on their own, without the visiting teams from the UK (United Kingdom) and other countries,” Ms. Scanlan said.
She informed that the medical groups that visit Jamaica to do cardiac surgeries on children, have agreed to work together to raise the US$1million that is needed to remodel and develop the infrastructure at the hospital, including setting up the catheter laboratory.
Dr. Forrester, in welcoming the initiative, noted that the setting up of a catheter lab at the hospital would allow local medical teams to do investigative and keyhole procedures to treat some forms of heart conditions, thus reducing hospital time and complications from surgery.
Dr. Forrester told JIS News that there is a long list of patients awaiting surgeries and “if we can improve our infrastructure in terms of improving ICU bed space and having training for our doctors, nurses, anaesthesiologists, surgeons, then we can increase the numbers of complex cases done by our local team.”
Chain of Hope, which was founded by world renowned cardiologist, Dr. Magi Jacob, first visited Jamaica in July, 1996. The medical team, which comes to Jamaica twice per year, has performed a total of 190 paediatric heart surgeries to date.
The group works closely with the Ministry of Health and the Jamaica Foundation for Cardiac Disease (JFCD). In November, 2007 the charity set up local branch, Chain of Hope Jamaica.

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