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Gift of Life International

Healing little hearts in Jamaica

Gift of Life International has partnered with Chain of Hope UK in Jamaica since 2011 when this became a Core Program and resources and strategies were focused on the creation of a sustainable pediatric cardiac program. The state-of-the-art pediatric cardiac unit at Bustamante Hospital for Children (BHC) was built and equipped in a collaborative effort between like-minded partners, The Digicel Foundation, Rotary partners, BHC administration and the Jamaican government allowing for Jamaican children with heart disease to be treated in their country of birth. Gift of Life International and Chain of Hope UK continue to regularly send surgical, catheterization and aftercare teams to BHC to provide mentorship and skills transfer to the local team. These visits also help to work down the lengthy waiting list which grew substantially during the global pandemic. We remain optimistic that a sustainable pediatric cardiac program will be established by the end of 2024 at Bustamante Hospital for Children in Kingston. Although there have been many unforeseen challenges, the Jamaican pediatric cardiac program is strong and has committed leadership which will ultimately prevail.

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Jamaica Program Development

2011 – Jamaica becomes the 3rd Gift of Life International Core Program

The Our Hearts are in Jamaica program saw 18 Jamaican children travel to various Gift of Life International affiliated hospitals in the USA for treatment and to raise awareness of the need for pediatric cardiac care in Jamaica. Together with like-minded partner Chain of Hope UK, Gift of Life International created and began to implement aggressive training programs for nurses, anesthesiologists, biomedical engineers, perfusionists and intensive care doctors.

2016 – Jamaican Ministry of Health Signs MOU

In the midst of strategic development of the pediatric cardiac program which included training of the local team, construction of a new pediatric cardiac unit at Bustamante Hospital for Children and upgrade of equipment for the new unit, the Jamaican Ministry of Health demonstrated their commitment to Jamaican children with heart disease by signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Gift of Life International and Chain of Hope UK.

2017 – Pediatric Cardiac Center Opens at BHC

The celebration of life begins! After many long years of challenges and construction, Jamaican children with heart disease and their parents have hope for a second chance at life in their country of birth. The state-of-the-art pediatric cardiac unit at Bustamante Hospital for Children opens and begins treating children in need. The new unit includes an operating theater, catheterization lab and intensive care unit dedicated to pediatric cardiac patients.

2023 – Moving Towards Legacy Status

Gift of Life International and like-minded partner Chain of Hope UK continued with the strategic approach to establishing a sustainable pediatric cardiac program at BHC for the children of Jamaica. Training teams continued to provide mentorship and targeted skills transfer to members of the Jamaican team during regularly scheduled training visits. The local team increased their capacity to treat children independently between visits and we continued to work to enhance the availability of specialized supplies and medications locally. We are thankful to Chain of Hope Jamaica for their support of the day-to-day efforts of the Jamaican Pediatric Cardiac Team. Our strategic approach will ultimately bring this program to Legacy Status by the end of 2024.

Building a Core Program in Jamaica

Learn more about our work in Jamaica

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“The support from Gift of Life International, Chain of Hope and Rotary is essential to our program. Visiting teams provide the resources we lack such as disposables. They also provide us with the transfer of information to help our team grow in knowledge and skills so that we can be sustainable in the future. With each training visit, we affect the lives of more children and their families.”

Dr. Sharonne Forrester, Head of Cardiology, Bustamante Hospital for Children

Our Impact in Jamaica since 2011.

1,090

Jamaican Children Treated

2.55

Million Invested

27

Training Visits

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