Just one day before runners took to the streets to cover 100km in the inaugural Island Run Antigua, United Kingdom members of the Sandals affiliate, Unique Vacations Inc., Ltd. UK and representatives from Sandals Grande Antigua Resort made a courtesy visit to administrators at the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre.
Hosted by the Sandals Foundation and led by Chair of the Paediatric Department, Dr. Shivon Belle Jarvis, the tour explored the Neo-Natal Unit for which part proceeds from the targeted £100,000 will support.
Heidi Clarke, Executive Director at the Sandals Foundation said, “We are honoured to be here today to share with the hardworking medical practitioners who continue to provide the ultimate service in preserving the gift of life. This historic charity event will make it possible for us to provide a jaundice screening machine and a handheld blood analyzer that delivers lab-quality, diagnostic results in minutes.”
For Dr. Belle-Jarvis, the equipment, for which the jaundice screening machine has already been delivered, will make a difference in the care provided within the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit. “The jaundice screening machine will help us tremendously in monitoring babies for jaundice. Up to 60% of babies who are full-term will be jaundiced and up to 80% who are born prematurely will be jaundiced. We have just about 1000 babies delivered each year so over 600 babies will benefit from this jaundice meter”.
“The blood gas analysis machine,” Dr Belle-Jarvis continued, “helps us to appropriately assess how much carbon dioxide and oxygen are within the bloodstream of our babies, enabling us to make appropriate changes especially when they are on respiratory support”.
On October 11- 14, the streets of Antigua will be ground zero for a charity run to bolster the capacity of the Medical Centre’s ability to serve paediatric needs. Proceeds from the event will also be directed to the Endowment Fund of the Sickkids Caribbean Initiative – a partnership that connects health care in Toronto, Canada with seven Caribbean health institutions – making it possible for doctors and nurses to exchange information and better diagnose and treat children afflicted by cancer and serious blood disorders.
Graeme Saunders, Senior Manager Groups & MICE at Unique Vacations Inc., Ltd. UK, one of the participants in the 4-day Ultra Marathon 100KM Run expressed delight in being able to see the facilities for which the Sandals Foundation has provided invaluable support over the years.
“Going to visit the medical centre really hits home for me what we are raising money for and the important help that will be provided to the island. It’s an added motivation as well. When the going gets tough which it will inevitably get at some stage [throughout the race] thinking about the benefits to the babies will give us that added motivation to push on.”
The Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre in Antigua is the only acute care facility on the island that offers 24-hour emergency care for babies in need of critical care as well as those born prematurely.
On Saturday, October 14, Antiguans will be able to join in the charity event by participating in a 21 km Half Marathon Run or a 10 km walk.
“We encourage Antiguans to register and come out on Saturday and support the cause,” Matthew Cornall, General Manager of Sandals Grande Antigua Resort, “This week’s activity will play a critical role in ensuring our medical professionals are supported in their efforts to provide the best quality service to our young ones. Together we can do so much more.”
A coalition of local and international corporate partners have come on board including TickeTing App, Digicel Group, Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, Anjo Wholesale British Airways, Mail Metro Media, Runners World and Good Housekeeping Magazine, Northstar Meetings Group, Corpay, Hays Travel, 7Stars, EMC3, Upsamdown and UYN.