Thanks in large part to a $100,000 dollar pledge by the Bahamas Telecommunications Company’s (BTC) the Sick Kids Telemedicine Lab in the Oncology department of the Princess Margaret Hospital is now open, allowing remote physician-patient tele-conferencing for medical diagnosis and treatment options for children in The Bahamas, with malignant tumors.
Telemedicine generally refers to the use of communications and information technologies for the delivery of clinical care. As an island nation, Telemedicine is not new to The Bahamas but this is the first Telemedicine equipped Oncology department dedicated to the specific care and treatment options for children with tumors; it is deemed critical to the advancement of diagnostic and treatment decisions.
Partnering in this initiative is The SickKids Foundation of Toronto, Canada, through their Caribbean-SickKids Paediatric Cancer and Blood Disorders (CPCB) Project. It is already working with Eastern Caribbean nations to improve the clinical outcomes and quality of life for children and their families living with cancer and blood disorders. Currently, the survival rate in the Caribbean for children with cancer is between 50 and 60 percent, and via telemedicine outreach and other services through the SickKids Foundation , the aim is to improve children’s chances of survival.
“We are proud to be a part of this venture,” said Jerome Sawyer, BTC Senior Manager of Public Relations. “We understand that Telemedicine conferencing equipment allows real-time consultation between family members and medical specialists in two different countries, enabling closer and more timely patient physician interaction, and often, a higher level of comfort and clarity to the process of patient care. And now Doctors in The Bahamas, and the families of sick children have the opportunity to speak and discuss directly with a medical team in Toronto, the diagnosis and treatment of malignant tumors. This partnership may well lead to our furhter involvement in Telemedicine ventures in other sectors of the healthcare system.”
The SickKids Telemedicine Lab, BTC financial package is part of BTC’s $320,000 community donation programme to mark The Bahamas 40th Independence. Mr. Sawyer explained that the 40th Anniversary financial gifts of support are another way the company gives back to the community.
“All this year we have given financial aid or material and human support to various causes as a part of our gift to the nation in this 40th Independence Anniversary year. Our donation towards the Sick Kids Telemedicine Lab is another meaningful part of this package.”
Mr. Sawyer listed some of the other Anniversary projects, including the upcoming September start and over the next 5 years, of 10 BTC scholarships to the value of $50,000 annually for financially challenged COB students who qualify academically. Part proceeds from the $250,000 gift will go towards COB’s endowment fund.
BTC was a lead sponsor of the 40th Independence Anniversary Legacy Ball in Nassau and several community and BTC staff Independence celebrations throughout The Bahamas. Also sponsored were the nation’s first Bahamian ICON awards, where CEO Geoff Houston presented the Humanitarian Award to winner Darcy Moss.
In February this year BTC announced their sponsorship partnership with Urban Renewal (UR) for ongoing inner city help to include a $20,000 financial aid package to the Urban Renewal Band for instruments and musical instruction, the development of a ‘local champions’ park on Poinciana Avenue, and an ongoing supply of free phone cards to the UR Centres for their use as positive reinforcement rewards for a kids’ good behavior. May saw the launch of the BTC Urban Renewal Basketball League at the Cynthia ‘Mother’ Pratt Park, the first sponsored sports League in the inner city programme. It is hoped that the initiative will give Urban Renewal further community reach and depth and also encourage other sports league sponsorships in the Urban Renewal programme.
The Coconut Grove Heroes Park will be officially opened at the end of July. The ceremony is a rededication and unveiling of the Heroes Wall, which was underwritten by BTC sponsorship monies in conjunction with Career Builders. The Heroes wall is a tribute to those prominent Bahamians born or raised in Coconut Grove who have contributed in a meaningful way to the development of The Bahamas. Career Builders renovated the park free of charge.
BTC’s Independence financial community package is in addition to the ongoing aid it gives year-round to assist in the education and character building of Bahamian youth through sports and multiple educational disciplines.
The Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) is the leading telecoms operator in The Bahamas. BTC is jointly owned by Cable & Wireless Communications (51%) and the Government of The Bahamas (49%). Cable & Wireless Communications has both management and Board control.
Source: Serena Williams
Top: Dr. Blanchette-The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) addresses attendees
Bottom: The BTC Telemedicine Lab Plaque is unveiled in the new lab in the PMH Oncology Department. L to R: Minister of Health Dr. Perry Gomez; UWI SCMR Dr. Robin Roberts; Public Hospital Authority Chairman Frank Smith; BTC Sr. Manager of Public Relations Jerome Sawyer; Haematologist, The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) Dr. Victor Blanchette; PMH Hospital Chaplain Rev Fr. Sebastian Campbell (just out of shot) All photos by Ferrano Ferguson.