Jamaica Gleaner
Saturday | July 20, 2013

Food For The Poor (FFP) has boosted the limited dialysis/kidney-care treatment resources of the Haemodialysis Unit of the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) with a donation of equipment and medical supplies valued at more than $5 million.

Among the items handed over were resuscitators, laryngoscope blades, infant and adult digital scales, pulse oximeters, defibrillators, coagulation timers, patient chairs and computers.

The charity came to the aid of the UHWI Haemodialysis Unit after a request from the Jamaica Kidney Kids Foundation Ltd (JKKFL), a support group for children with chronic kidney problems. This followed a series of reports from a Gleaner Editors’ Forum in February, which focused on the plight of children in Jamaica with kidney disease.

The Haemodialysis Unit is the only health facility in Jamaica which provides dialysis for children younger than 12 years old. The donation will help in significantly improving the availability of key equipment used in treating children suffering from chronic kidney disease.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE

Susan Moore, director of recipient services at FFP, articulated the commitment of the charity organisation in helping to make a major difference in the health sector.

“It’s all part of what we do in Jamaica, by empowering Jamaicans. Definitely, the poorest of the poor will benefit,” she said.

Dr Marsha Gooden, paediatrician/paediatric nephrologist at the UHWI, asserted that the donation would enable the hospital to better serve patients, both young and old, who are suffering from renal failure.

“We want to thank Food For The Poor for this donation, which will help us to better care for patients. All the items will be adequately utilised,” said Gooden.

Dr Maolynne Miller, founder of JKKFL, expressed confidence that the FFP donation would help to advance the quality of patient care to patients with kidney disease.

“This will improve the quality of care for children affected by kidney problems, and give accurate measurements for various types of renal diagnoses,” said Miller.

“It’s fantastic to share with the adult Haemodialysis Unit, because this is where the children stay at this time. Everything that was donated will be shared with the hospital.”

Describing the donation as “ideal and very useful”, Miller said: “Many thanks to Food For The Poor.”

EASING THE BURDEN

Data from the JKKFL showed that each year, at least 40 children in Jamaica under the age of 16 years are diagnosed with chronic kidney/renal disease. Of that number, three to six children will be diagnosed with chronic kidney failure. Between 1985 and 2006, 30 of the 48 children diagnosed with chronic kidney failure died. FFP is helping to ensure that the already overburdened dialysis treatment facilities are increased to the benefit of the children.

FFP also made a donation to the Paediatric Nephrology Service of the UHWI to assist with specific blood tests needed by children on dialysis. Receiving the donation of $50,000, MicroLabs Ltd committed to reducing the cost of blood tests for children on dialysis by more than 50 per cent.

William Tavares-Finson (right), director of the Jamaica Kidney Kids Foundation Ltd (JKKFL), expresses appreciation to Food For The Poor (FFP), while examining a defibrillator which the organisation presented to the University Hospital of the West Indies. Looking on are Susan Moore (left), FFP's director of recipient services, and Dr Maolynne Miller, founder of JKKFL.

William Tavares-Finson (right), director of the Jamaica Kidney Kids Foundation Ltd (JKKFL), expresses appreciation to Food For The Poor (FFP), while examining a defibrillator which the organisation presented to the University Hospital of the West Indies. Looking on are Susan Moore (left), FFP’s director of recipient services, and Dr Maolynne Miller, founder of JKKFL.