‘Money should not be a barrier’
Irish medics to offer free paediatric resuscitation training in Jamaica
The Paediatric Acute Intervention Resuscitation Skills (PAIRS) group, a network of medical consultants, doctors and nurses, will provide free week-long training to over 200 local healthcare workers.
The PAIRS team consists of 15 doctors, nurses and consultants who help train medics in developing markets.
PAIRS founder, Dr Ike Okafor, who is also the clinical director of Children’s Health Ireland, said the organisation’s main aim is to improve the quality of care given to children.
“We’re hoping that over the next four days, we can train hundreds and hundreds of Jamaican healthcare workers and we hope that the outcome will be more improvement in the care of children in this country.”
Highlighting that paediatric resuscitation “saves lives”, Dr Okafor further expressed that the course may be inaccessible to many healthcare workers because it can be costly.
“We know that there are courses similar to PAIRS but they cost a lot of money. People pay up to US$800 to do the same course we are trying to teach. Money should not be a barrier for healthcare workers looking after children to know what to do when they’re sick,” he said.
“When I started PAIRS, I wanted people to copy what we were doing. I wanted other people with the skills to train people to resuscitate children. We don’t need to wait for a big organisation to do this at a massive cost. Let’s go out and let’s do everything that we can do to train paediatric healthcare workers to manage children who are sick. That’s how we make a difference.”
Dr Okafor expressed gratitude to the local stakeholders who supported and sponsored the mission to Jamaica.
Among them are the Ministry of Health & Wellness, the Jamaicans in Ireland Diaspora and the Digicel Foundation.
He also thanked his team and his wife, Sherene.
Mrs Okafor, who is the chairperson of Jamaicans in Ireland Diaspora and a special needs education specialist, was instrumental in getting the team to visit Jamaica.
SPECIAL NEEDS COMMUNITY
Speaking at a welcome reception for the group at the ROK Hotel on Sunday, February 5, chairperson of the Digicel Foundation, Jean Lowrie-Chin, acknowledged that, like Mrs Okafor, Digicel Foundation is committed to improving lives, especially those in the special needs community.
“Ms Powell, we have heard of your extraordinary work for special needs in Ireland and so you may be pleased to hear that the Digicel Jamaica Foundation is the leader for special needs support ahead of all other non-governmental organisations. We have built or significantly expanded 12 special needs schools throughout Jamaica, and supported testing, teacher and parental education,” she said.
The PAIRS team, because of their close ties with Mustard Seed in Ireland, will train over 40 caregivers and staff at Mustard Seed Communities across the island.
Founder of the Mustard Seed Communities, Father Gregory Ramkissoon, expressed gratitude to the group. He said, “We have almost 500 kids at Mustard Seed in Jamaica that we wouldn’t get this kind of professional support very often, especially because we have nearly 500 staff. You’ve come down here to help people you’ve never met and I really want to thank you so much for coming without any great burden on us.”
The training of healthcare workers began on Monday, February 6 at a Ministry of Health & Wellness facility in Kingston and will end on Thursday, February 9.