The SickKids-Caribbean Initiative (SCI), funded in part by Scotiabank, continues to improve access to health services for children in six Caribbean countries who are diagnosed with cancer and blood disorders.
With the support of SickKids Foundation, SCI was created in partnership with the SickKids Centre for Global Child Health, the University of the West Indies (UWI), ministries of health and key hospitals and institutions in The Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago. SCI is aimed at improving the diagnosis and subsequent management of paediatric patients with cancer and blood disorders, as well as providing training and education in the areas of haematology/oncology, nursing, and laboratory services.
With Scotiabank’s support in phase one as the main telemedicine partner, seven telemedicine facilities were completed across the region with The Bahamas currently benefiting through Princess Margaret Hospital.
Phase two of the initiative, which is set to run until March 31, 2022, saw an additional CAN$1 million from Scotiabank.
“We’re pleased that our support for the SCI has enhanced access to critical care for children in the Caribbean with cancer and blood disorders,” indicated Anya Schnoor, executive vice President, Caribbean, Central America and Uruguay, Scotiabank. “Guided by our core purpose – For Every Future – we want to help young people lead fulfilling lives. The SCI has also increased the capacity of doctors and nurses to provide timely, accurate diagnosis and high-quality follow-up care, helping ensure future paediatric patients can benefit.”
While the COVID-19 pandemic has posed challenges, the SCI has made remarkable progress within the past year, to help achieve the completion of:
• 618 case consultations;
• 41 nurses, five Caribbean paediatricians trained or training in haematology/oncology;
• 504 specialized diagnostic tests for patients diagnosed with leukemia;
• 116,190 newborn sickle cell disease screening tests.
“COVID-19 has been a game-changer for all of us individually, regionally, and internationally,” said Dr. Corrine Sin Quee-Brown, paediatric oncologist and lead physician representative for The Bahamas. “Luckily, in the Caribbean, we already had a system in place that allowed us to stay connected. Online consultations and educational sessions could continue. Ready sharing of international platforms was also facilitated. We were still able to transport specimens for additional diagnostic testing not available locally to assist with management decisions.”
Also commenting, Roger Archer, managing director, Scotiabank Bahamas underscored the impact of the initiative in improving access to quality healthcare for all Bahamians. “As a financial institution, we are also well aware of the impact that unfortunate diagnoses can have on the financial situation of many families. We continue to provide support for programs that have a positive impact on the lives and livelihoods of the communities that we serve and to support the institutions that are the backbone of our country,” he said. Archer also pointed to a donation made by the bank earlier this year for the purchase of equipment for the Rand Memorial Hospital Paediatric Ward.