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Pledge with your heart - UHWI launches campaign to purchase echocardiogram machine

Published:Wednesday | September 28, 2016 | 12:00 AM
An echocardiogram machine.

Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of chronic lifestyle-related deaths in Jamaica. With the growing cases annually, the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) Cardiology Unit is hampered by the unavailability of an echocardiogram machine at its facility to diagnose and monitor heart patients.

With a rich history and legacy as the largest hospital in Jamaica, its cardiology unit is unable to effectively cater to the thousands of patients who require the service of an echocardiogram machine.

But with the launch of the Pledge With Your Heart campaign, it is hoped that great strides will be made to purchase a new echocardiogram machine, which is estimated to cost between US$40,000 and $60,000.

Consultant cardiologist at the UHWI, Dr Mark Hoo Sang, says the fundraising initiative is one that is positioned to tackle the plight faced by the unit. He noted that the issue of heart disease is widespread, with debilitating effects on individuals, and with the unit's current inability to conduct the echocardiogram, patients are referred to external facilities, which impacts on timeliness of results submission, as well as affordability for patients.


Correct diagnosis


"The echocardiogram is a special ultrasound test that is able to tell the function and structure of the heart. This is very important information that is required in almost all cases of heart disease in order to determine the correct diagnosis. Having the machine at the UHWI Cardiology Unit would make it more accessible and affordable for the thousands of patients who we see in our clinic every year."

Citing the initiative as a call for a welcomed collaboration with the private and public sectors, as well as the general Jamaican community locally and abroad in the diaspora, Hoo Sang affirmed that the campaign is a proactive way of rallying support for the goal of the campaign to come to fruition.

The previous echocardiogram machine at the unit has been inoperable for the last three years and the level of need for the echocardiogram machine is regarded as critical. For persons and companies wishing to pledge their support, donations are to be made to the JMMB New Kingston branch, account number 2958004.

The Pledge with your Heart Campaign, while primarily a fundraising initiative, will also embark on a cardiovascular disease public education programme to raise awareness and early detection. The first beneficiaries of this exercise will be students and staff of the University of the West Indies, and walk-in patients, who will receive information and free heart tests on Thursday to coincide with World Heart Day. The event is registered as an official World Heart Day event with the World Heart Federation.