JIS News

KINGSTON — Twenty dialysis machines have been donated to three hospitals across the island by the Bridge of Life,out of the United States of America (USA).

The hospitals are University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) at Mona, in Kingston; St. Joseph's, in Kingston and Mandeville Regional, in Manchester.

The dialysis centres at these three hospitals are managed by Nephrologist, Professor Everard Barton.

Executive Director of the Bridge of Life, Mrs. Lori Vaclavik, said her organisation, in association with the DaVita Medical Mission, is pleased to be working in Jamaica to provide lifesaving treatment for people affected by end stage renal disease.

Speaking at a JIS 'Think Tank', on November 3, she said Jamaica was selected as a country in which to work, "because of the existence of good hospitals and because there are already skilled doctors, technicians and nurses who understand kidney care."

The Executive Director said the machines will enable the effective treatment and care of 150 additional persons who have been diagnosed with renal end stage disease. She also noted that three renatrons have been donated along with some consumables for 2,400 patient treatments.

Mrs. Vaclavik said that Bridge of Life has brought a team of experts to conduct training sessions with about 60 to 80 kidney care professionals in the hospitals, including nurses and patient care technicians.

“We are about providing equipment and training, and empowering people in their country to provide health care. We are confident that the medical professionals in the three hospitals will be able to do that," she added.

She pointed out that the training at each facility will take place over a three-week period, and that the team is committed to transferring the requisite knowledge needed for the administering of quality treatment.

Volunteer with Professor Barton at the UHWI, Mrs. Blossom Laidlaw, indicated that the contact was made with the Bridge of Life through a Jamaican doctor from  Harvard University, Dr. Avin Ketwaru.

Since the recent handing over of the machines, the UHWI now has a total of 14 dialysis stations; St. Joseph’s, eight and the centre at the Mandeville Regional has five  machines.

Importantly, the donations have reduced the operational costs of the units in the hospitals, which has enabled the transfer of funds to other needy areas. The treatment costs are also reduced for the patients, as the centres have been organised by Professor Barton to facilitate those persons who are unable to pay the high fees that are associated with the treatment.

Bridge of Life is a five year-old, non-profit organisation that helps needy hospitals and medical facilities with equipment and training for patients with renal diseases.

The machines were purchased at a cost of US$100,000 (J$8.6 million).


By Toni-Ann Russell, JIS PRO

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