Mon | Aug 21, 2017

Bright Christmas for mother and baby

Published:Saturday | December 24, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Christmas will be much brighter for Jamaican mother Serenia and her baby, Omani (last names withheld).

With the help of United Kingdom (UK)-based charity Chain of Hope, the first-time mother from Norwood in Montego Bay is now looking forward to a brighter future with her baby after successful heart surgery in London.

Omani was born in October with a severe form of heart disease known as transposition of the great arteries (TGA), and was flown to the UK in November with his mother to have urgent heart surgery to correct his arteries.

He was treated at the Harley Street Clinic in London by world-leading heart surgeons volunteering their time to Chain of Hope. Five weeks later, at just 10 weeks old, Omani and his mother returned to Jamaica this week.

Serenia said she was very grateful for the help received from Chain of Hope and was excited to be back home for Christmas with a healthy son, who is now active and doing extremely well.

HEART PROCEDURES

Omani is the fourth child from Jamaica to be flown to the UK for urgent treatment by Chain of Hope this year. The charity also conducted two specialised medical missions to Jamaica this year, collaborating closely with the local team to provide heart procedures and specialist aftercare services for more than 34 children.

In the near future, Chain of Hope is looking forward to opening the Jamaica Children's Heart Centre, where these surgeries can be performed locally at world-class standard.

The centre is being built at the Bustamante Hospital for Children and is due to be opened in 2017.

Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton said he was pleased with the progress being made on this very important project and was happy with the partnership of Chain of Hope, Gift of Life International and the Shaggy Make a Difference Foundation.

"The new year will see major improvements to the Bustamante Hospital for Children and its capacity to treat cardiac cases. This will be a welcome improvement for those who need this type of service. This is what partnership with a purpose and hard work can achieve," Tufton added.

Chief executive officer of Chain of Hope, UK, Emma Scanlan, said the new centre will allow Jamaica to perform at least 250 surgeries and 120 catheter procedures in the first three years of its opening, as well as help children from other Caribbean countries in need of heart surgery.

The Heart Centre is being built with funds from the National Health Fund; Digicel; Chain of Hope, Jamaica; and Sagicor Sigma Run 2012. It will be equipped with the support of Gift of Life International, Rotary International, the Shaggy Make a Difference Foundation and Chain of Hope, UK.