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JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Five institutions in Jamaica now have automated external defibrillators (AED), which are used in resuscitating the heartbeat.
  • Chief Executive Officer of Team Jamaica Bickle, Irwine Clare, presented the equipment to representatives of the schools yesterday (June 18) at the Rose Hall Hilton Hotel in Montego Bay, St. James.
  • He said the decision to undertake the project followed the death of 17-year-old St. Jago High School student, Cavahn McKenzie, last year.

Five institutions in Jamaica now have automated external defibrillators (AED), which are used in resuscitating the heartbeat.

The devices, valued at some US$7,500, were provided by Team Jamaica Bickle Inc., a Diaspora organisation, which provides support services for Caribbean athletes, who compete at the annual Penn Relays.

The beneficiary institutions are Petersfield High, Westmoreland; Green Island High, Hanover; Vere Technical High, Clarendon; G.C. Foster College, St. Catherine; and Cornwall College, St. James.

Chief Executive Officer of Team Jamaica Bickle, Irwine Clare, presented the equipment to representatives of the schools yesterday (June 18) at the Rose Hall Hilton Hotel in Montego Bay, St. James.

Following the handover ceremony, coaches and nurses at the institutions received training on the use of the equipment and how to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

The training was carried out by Jamaican nurses living in the United States, Sharon Thompson and Delores McGregor.

Mr. Clare informed that the donation is part of a project to provide some 50 to 75 schools in Jamaica with defibrillators.

He said the decision to undertake the project followed the death of 17-year-old St. Jago High School student, Cavahn McKenzie, last year.

The student athlete died from heart complications after competing in the junior men’s six-kilometre event at the North America, Central America and Caribbean Cross Country championships held in Trinidad and Tobago.

“As a result of that, we were committed to ensuring that the schools that we cater to at the Penn Relays are equipped with defibrillator,” Mr. Clare said.

“We are looking at a project that will eventually value from US$60,000 to US$80,000. It is a continuum; it is not a one-off thing,” he pointed out.

He said that the athletes will also be trained in CPR and the use of the defibrillators.

State Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. Arnaldo Brown, who spoke to JIS News after the handover ceremony, said the donation “is a meaningful contribution to athletic care and well-being”.

“These machines will go a far way and hopefully assist in minimising, if not preventing any untimely death of any of our young athletes,” he said.

Mr. Brown also commended the work of Team Jamaica Bickle in caring for the welfare of the country’s student athletes at the annual Penn Relays.

The defibrillators were provided as part of the Diaspora Day of Service, the final event of the 6th Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference held from June 13-18 in Montego Bay.

On the day, overseas nationals were invited to share their skills and resources in community projects of their choice.

An AED is a portable device that checks the heart rhythm and can send an electric shock to the heart to try to restore a normal rhythm. AEDs are used to treat sudden cardiac arrest, that is a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating.