University Hospital benefits from charity event
On Sunday, May 4, Jojo's Jerk Pit hosted 'Evening Breeze' - a party for charity hosted by The Board, a group of friends who regularly lyme together, as part of their outreach programme. It was held in conjunction with the group Friends of Dialysis Patients.
The 35-member board will use proceeds to purchase much-needed supplies for the Haemodialysis Unit at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI). Board president Andre Gooden explained that the group started getting together over 20 years ago to pass time on Friday evenings, and like any group, got to talking about the nation's problems.
"The board decided to stop complaining and make a difference in the lives of our countrymen, and each year we choose a charity to benefit from our efforts," he said. "Usually, we collect money within the group but, this year, we decided to increase the initiative and donation. We got a lot of support from our friends and patients of the unit who sold tickets and rallied for attendance." The event was also supported by corporate Jamaica, including Guardian General Insurance Jamaica Limited (GGJ).
"GGJ is a strong supporter of health and wellness, whether in sports, illness prevention or the care of those with an ailment," said Sheraley Bridgeman, assistant vice-president, business development at GGJ (and a Board member). "One of our employees is a patient of the UHWI Haemodialysis Unit, and brought the need to our attention." The target amount for the event was $300,000 which will be used to purchase needed supplies. A donation will also be made to assist one of the patients of the unit who was admitted a few weeks ago.
The UHWI unit offers its services to an average of 54 patients per day (Mondays to Saturdays) with 18 machines, with treatments ranging from three to four hours. There are numerous private dialysis centres across the island, but UHWI offers the service at a subsidised rate, while Kingston Public Hospital, Spanish Town Hospital, Mandeville Hospital and the Cornwall Regional Hospital offer the service for free. As a result, the waiting list period extends from months to years, with private treatments ranging from $9,000 to $13,000, with many patients requiring a minimum of two per week.
The Diabetes Association of Jamaica estimates that between 400 and 600 new cases of chronic renal failure occur per million population in Jamaica annually and diabetes contributes significantly to this. There are currently 50 dialysis machines in Jamaica treating approximately 250 patients.