Fri | Jul 23, 2021

Rotary Club donates blood pressure machines, cuffs to hospitals

Published:Friday | June 18, 2021 | 1:08 AM
Dr Maolynne Miller (third left), founder/chair of the Jamaica Kidney Kids Foundation, demonstrates the new cuffs to be distributed to paediatric departments at 15 hospitals, donated by the Rotary Club of St Andrew North, to Dr Michelle Ann Richards Dawson
Dr Maolynne Miller (third left), founder/chair of the Jamaica Kidney Kids Foundation, demonstrates the new cuffs to be distributed to paediatric departments at 15 hospitals, donated by the Rotary Club of St Andrew North, to Dr Michelle Ann Richards Dawson (second right), senior medical officer, Bustamante Hospital for Children. Others looking on (from left) are Nordia Francis Williams, manager of public relations and communications, University Hospital of the West Indies; Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn, minister of state in the Ministry of Health & Wellness; Dr Judith Leiba, director of child and adolescent mental health, Ministry of Health & Wellness; and Henleith Annmarie Curtis, project lead and immediate past president, Rotary Club of St Andrew North.

ALL 15 public hospitals in Jamaica offering paediatric services are to receive a donation from the Rotary Club of St Andrew North of 36 wheeled mobile sphygmomanometers (blood pressure machines) and 160 blood pressure cuffs of all sizes for children.

In addition, each of the three hospitals with a paediatric kidney (nephrology) service – the Bustamante Hospital for Children, University Hospital of the West Indies and Cornwall Regional Hospital – will receive continuous ambulatory blood pressure (CABP) monitors that can record blood pressures continuously throughout a 24-hour period.

The equipment is valued at US$40,000(J$6 million).

“The availability of the 24-hour CABP monitors is a first for children in Jamaica and will help significantly in managing and detecting hypertension among that young demographic,” said Dr Maolynne Miller, founder/chair of the Jamaica Kidney Kids Foundation on Monday at a virtual handover ceremony of the equipment by the Rotary Club of St Andrew North and its partners to the public health system. Jamaica Kidney Kids Foundation, with the assistance of the Health for Life and Wellness Foundation of the Ministry of Health and Wellness, will distribute the machines across the hospitals on behalf of the club and monitor them to ensure that maintenance and, where necessary, repairs are carried out to keep them operational.

In giving an overview of the project, Henleith Annmarie Curtis, project leader and immediate past president of the Rotary Club of St Andrew North, said the blood pressure machine procurement initiative is the largest funded project undertaken by the club in its 34-year history.

She also said it is the first club project to have received funding from the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International through its Global Grant facilities. Other contributors include Rotary District 7020 (Eastern Caribbean region); Rotary Club of Grand Cayman and Rotary District 6900 (Rotary Club of Smyrna, Georgia, USA), Transocean Shipping, and proceeds from the virtual run/walk/ride event hosted by the Rotary Club of St Andrew North.

According to Curtis, based on 2017 statistics, 33,000 young Jamaicans between the ages of 10 and 18 are hypertensive. In 85 per cent of those age 0-10, high blood pressure is secondary to a defined and potentially curable cause. Unfortunately, at present, hospitals in the rural areas are especially challenged in effectively treating those children because of inadequate supplies of paediatric blood pressure cuffs and the absence of continuous ambulatory blood pressure monitors.

Speaking at the event, Minister of State in the Ministry of Health & Wellness, Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn, praised the Rotary Club of St Andrew North for its continuous and selfless spirit of volunteerism which has positively impacted communities and the nation.

“The handing over of these machines is a step in the right direction as the Ministry of Health & Wellness seeks to advance plans for a more efficient healthcare system in Jamaica,” she said.