Bahamian nurses were part of a group of recent graduates from the University of the West Indies (UWI) School of Nursing’s (Trinidad) Pediatric Haematology/Oncology program.
The 27 nurses from The Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, under the SickKids-Caribbean Initiative (SCI), have completed specialized training in the care of children with cancer and other blood disorders.
With the support of the SickKids Foundation, SCI was established in 2013 as a partnership with the University of the West Indies as well as Ministries of Health, hospitals and institutions in six Caribbean countries, including The Bahamas. The partnership focuses on building the sustainable local capacity to diagnose, treat, and manage pediatric cancers and blood disorders.
Regional bank CIBC FirstCaribbean pledged $1 million to the initiative over a seven-year period (2014 – 2020) through its charitable arm, the FirstCaribbean International ComTrust Foundation. As nurse training partner, the bank funded the full training for all but one of the 27 nurses.
“We are truly proud to be a partner with SCI and support the life-changing work they have been doing across the region to ensure that hundreds of children diagnosed with cancers or blood disorders have access to the very best care delivered by trained professionals,” said Colette Delaney, FirstCaribbean International ComTrust Foundation chair and bank chief executive officer.
“The work of the dedicated doctors and nurses of SCI has greatly improved the outcome and enhanced the quality of care and life for so many of our most vulnerable citizens – our children,” said Delaney.
“The greatest contribution the SickKids Caribbean Initiative made this past year was the completion of training of four pediatric oncology nurses,” said Bahamian doctor Corrine Sin Quee-Brown in SCI’s 2017-2018 Annual Progress Report.
“All four returned home and are well-engaged in the area and making a great impact and difference to the lives of our children with cancer and blood disorders. They do more than just administer medications; they give the added emotional and scheduling support that were so limited in the past. The sky is the limit now that a team is in place and hopefully this team will have the addition of another pediatric haematologist/oncologist in the very near future.”
To date, SCI has significantly improved the diagnosis and care of scores of children across the region. The initiative has also added to the library of regional medical literature and resources, with the completion of five supportive care guidelines and five clinical care guidelines documents.