Heart Foundation Needs More Help


The Heart Foundation of Jamaica is reporting that it still has a shortfall of $15 million to complete its expansion plans.
Under this expansion, the Foundation has purchased the adjoining premises at its Beechwood Avenue facility in Kingston, which is currently being refurbished to make it more medically friendly and wheelchair accessible.
According to Executive Director of the Foundation, Deborah Chen, the price tag for the plans amount to some $80 million, with donors such as the National Health Fund (NHF), National Housing Trust (NHT), Guardian Life, Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund, Guardian Life, National Commercial Bank (NCB) and Wysinco among the entities that have contributed to the Foundation’s Heroes of the Heart Building Development Fund.
“We are still looking for funds to clear this off, because basically we would like when patients come to us, they are in more comfortable surroundings and they do not have to wait outside before being seen, which is what is happening now,” she said at the start of Heart Month (February), at a presentation at the Altamont Court Hotel in New Kingston.
Indeed, there is a growing demand for the services of the Foundation, given the nature of cardiovascular disease, which is the number one cause of death in Jamaica. “Right now we are struggling to meet [the demand] in terms of the space,” she noted.
Ms. Chen also revealed that with the expected completion of the refurbishment by May, there would be an expansion of the services offered by the Foundation. “We will be able to do CPR classes on site and eventually we want to start a cardiac disease prevention and rehabilitation programme,” she explained.
“If your doctor or cardiologist diagnoses you with risk factors for heart disease or you have had a heart attack or heart surgery, you can come to us and we will have an exercise programme, a nutritionist and so on for a set period of time on a regular schedule, to try and reduce those risk factors or bring you back to optimum function,” she outlined.
Clients can also expect changes as they relate to the pharmacy, in addition to the inclusion of a resource library with Internet access.
The Heart Foundation was founded by the Lions Club of Kingston in 1971. It is a registered, non-profit organization supported by voluntary contributions that are deductible, its own fundraising efforts and subsidized user fees.
The objective of the Foundation is to reduce the incidence of death from heart disease in Jamaica by prevention through education; early detection through screening programmes and rehabilitation through education about healthy lifestyles.

JIS Social