Port Maria hospital gets help to equip facility
PORT MARIA, St Mary:
Staff at Port Maria Hospital (PMH) in St Mary were in a jubilant mood on Monday after a US-based charity promised to donate over US$3 million to help equip the facility's new but under furnished operating theatre.
American televangelist Reverend Jim Whittington, and his daughter, Lovell Casiero, who is president of the charity World Deliverance International (WDI), made the commitment during a brief handover ceremony where they donated much-needed equipment, including a sterilising machine, and a blood pressure and oxygen monitor.
According to Casiero, the supplies mark the start of a long-term alliance, which aims to benefit both the hospital and its patients.
She told Rural Xpress: "WDI has a non-governmental organisation (NGO) board here doing fundraising and an NGO in the United States fundraising on behalf of PMH.
"Even before we were asked today, we have committed to this being our project for as long as it takes to fill that operating theatre with the equipment it needs. Not only do we have people giving monetary donations for this equipment to be bought, but we have had hospitals and doctors give us around 10,000 individual pieces of medical supplies and equipment that is boxed and waiting to be shipped over here in mid-January.
"Some time ago, the Ministry of Health spent money to build and open this beautiful theatre, but when I came to the hospital, I learnt there was no equipment, which makes it difficult to get surgeons to come and work here.
"So we have a list of more than US$3 million worth of equipment for this operating theatre, and our first project is to deliver that. From there, we'll have to talk about the next priority, but we are partnering with the hospital and [the Ministry of Health] to provide equipment to take care of the citizens of Jamaica."
Casiero decided to contribute to PMH's development by seeking support from the members of her local church back in Pennsylvania, after being inspired by her father, who has been travelling and donating to Jamaica for many years.
She explained: "My father is a reverend, and I've been working with him in Jamaica and just love the humanitarian work. I think back in the United States, we are very blessed. People complain about our health-care system, but it pales when you put your priorities in this light.
"I work with my home church, and the priest there is very welcoming and lets me use our parish to start a fundraiser. I basically stood up in church and asked: 'What if you had to take your child to the doctor and the x-ray machine was from the 1940s; or your mother needs surgery, but there was no surgical equipment?' And they just opened up their hearts," Casiero said.