The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) launched a collaborative program last year called the SickKids-Caribbean Initiative (SCI) to improve the lives of children impacted by cancer and blood disorders in the Caribbean through the creation of telemedicine labs and educational programs for nurses and doctors.
Within one year, $6.8 million dollars has been raised, which help further build medical capacity in the Caribbean.
The funds will continue to support the ongoing programs of the SCI, including training health professionals locally and at SickKids and the expansion of telemedicine rooms. Currently two telemedicine rooms have been opened in the Bahamas and Barbados, and over the next six months, three more will open in Jamaica, St. Vincent & the Grenadines and St. Lucia. The aim is for medical professionals in the Caribbean to connect with oncologists and other specialists at SickKids to collaborate on files and treatment options.
The telemedicine labs serve as state-of-the-art hubs for local doctors, nurses and allied professionals to learn from their peers around the world and put forth patient cases for advice. The first pilot session of the Case Consultation Review Rounds took place on September 23 and two complex cases were reviewed: one haematology and one oncology and through a collaborative session, a treatment plan was developed for each.
“The SickKids-Caribbean Initiative is a unique example of collaboration from a medical perspective as well as a donor perspective in support of children’s health that will immediately improve the outlook and outcome of children living in the Caribbean,” said Ted Garrard, President and CEO of SickKids Foundation. “We set an $8 million fundraising goal and with the generosity of our recent donors as well as donors in our launch year we have surpassed expectations.”
SCI is helping to build sustainable health care capacity by training health professionals, providing consultation and diagnostic expertise, and developing and expanding access to treatment and supportive care, the development of a nursing training curriculum and the establishment of patient management tracking tools.
Within the past year, SCI has seen to the training of Dr. Michelle Reece-Mills from the University Hospital, University of the West Indies; a two-year fellowship at SickKids for Dr. Sharon McLean of the Bustamante Hospital for Children in the Division of Haematology/Oncology; observational training in flow cytometry and cytogenetics for seven laboratory staff from the Caribbean.
For more information on the SickKids-Caribbean Initiative, please visit www.sickkidsfoundation.com/caribbean.