US-based Jamaicans donate medical equipment to Cornwall Regional Hospital

Minister of Health & Wellness, Dr. Christopher Tufton (centre), inspects the endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), while Consultant Gastroenterologist and Associate Professor of Baylor University in Texas, Dr. Gyanprakash Ketwaroo (left), explains how it is used to diagnose conditions of the bile and pancreatic ducts. Looking on is Clinical Coordinator at Cornwall Regional, Dr. Delroy Fray. The ERCP, donated by Dr. Ketwaroo and Wellington ‘Phil’ Phillips, who are Jamaicans living in the United States, was officially handed over to the hospital on Thursday (Nov. 7). (Photo: Okoye Henry, JIS)

The Cornwall Regional Hospital in St. James has benefited from the donation of an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) and supplies valued at more than $20 million, which will better enable the facility to diagnose and treat problems of the bile and pancreatic ducts.

The equipment was provided by Jamaican-born philanthropists living in the United States, Dr. Gyanprakash Ketwaroo and Wellington ‘Phil’ Phillips.

International health organisation, Americares, facilitated the donation with support from the manufacturer, Olympus.

ERCP is used by doctors to examine and detect any abnormalities of the liver, gallbladder, bile ducts and pancreas, and perform specific intervention and treatment.

The equipment is the first of its kind in the west and one of the few in the island offered in the public health system.

Speaking at the handover ceremony at the hospital on Thursday (Nov. 7), Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. Christopher Tufton emphasised the importance of public-private partnership in the health sector.

“Wherever in the word that you go, if you do not have partnerships, which includes the non-governmental organisation (NGO) community or individuals, who are so like-minded, then you really won’t make it,” he said.

“We (Jamaica) get about 200 or so missions a year of persons, who engage to give back, and so we are very familiar and very welcoming of this type of support. I am sure the other doctors who are here, nurses and other staff members are seeing the value in this contribution,” he added.

Minister of Health & Wellness, Dr. Christopher Tufton, speaking at the handover of an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) and supplies at the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) in St. James on Thursday (Photo: Okoye Henry, JIS)

CRH’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Charmaine Williams-Beckford, welcomed the donation.

“Today, I salute our donors for identifying the great need that exists at this facility and in making a way to give this support,” she said.

Dr. Ketwaroo, a Consultant Gastroenterologist and Associate Professor at Baylor University in Texas, indicated that he and Phillips are open to future opportunities to aid the island’s health sector.

He said the objective is to provide equipment and support that will enhance the delivery of healthcare services to the average citizen.

“It is allowing patients, especially those who can’t afford the opportunity, to have access to this within the public sector and not have to travel to Kingston or to pay within the private sector,” he noted.

“It is not just about the equipment…it is training and ongoing collaboration,” he added.