The SickKids Caribbean Initiative team members at the Annual Planning Meeting.

The SickKids-Caribbean in partnership with Scotiabank continues to improve access to health services for children in the Caribbean. Anya Schnoor, Executive Vice President, Caribbean, Central America and Uruguay, Scotiabank says “We’re pleased that our support for the SCI has enhanced access to critical care for children in the Caribbean with cancer and blood disorders.” Details follow in this press release from Scotiabank.

With the support of SickKids Foundation, SCI was created in partnership with the SickKids Centre for Global Child Health, the University of the West Indies (UWI), Ministries of Health and key hospitals and institutions in The Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago. SCI is aimed at improving the diagnosis and subsequent management of paediatric patients with cancer and blood disorders, as well as providing training and education in the areas of haematology/oncology, nursing, and laboratory services.

A young boy of African descent is at a medical consultation. He is dressed in casual clothes while wearing a headscarf to hide his hair loss. He sits beside his stuffed animal while listening to his doctor of African descent and smiling up at her.

With Scotiabank’s support in Phase 1 as the main telemedicine partner, 7 telemedicine facilities were completed across the region with Trinidad and Tobago currently benefiting through The Wendy Fitzwilliam Paediatric Hospital, Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex in Champs Fleurs.

Phase 2 of the initiative, which is set to run until March 31, 2022, saw an additional $1 million (CDN) from Scotiabank. “We’re pleased that our support for the SCI has enhanced access to critical care for children in the Caribbean with cancer and blood disorders,” indicated Anya Schnoor, Executive Vice President, Caribbean, Central America and Uruguay, Scotiabank. “Guided by our core purpose– For Every Future, we want to help young people lead fulfilling lives. The SCI has also increased the capacity of doctors and nurses to provide timely, accurate diagnosis and high-quality follow-up care, helping ensure future paediatric patients can benefit.”

While the COVID-19 pandemic has posed challenges, the SCI has made remarkable progress within the past year, to help achieve the completion of:

• 618 case consultations

• 41 nurses, 5 Caribbean paediatricians trained or training in haematology/oncology

• 504 specialized diagnostic tests for patients diagnosed with leukemia

• 116,190 newborn sickle cell disease screening tests

Dr. Curt Bodkyn – Paediatric Oncologist and SCI co-lead physician representative for Trinidad and Tobago] in the indicated “The excellent foundation laid by the SCI collaboration has ensured that the care for children with cancer and blood disorders in the Caribbean region is on a sure footing, both during this COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.”

Gayle Pazos – Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Scotiabank Trinidad and Tobago who is also the Scotiabank representative on the SCI Advisory Committee underscored the value of the initiative. “The progress the SCI has made to date is commendable. There have been several doctors and nurses from across the region, including from here in Trinidad and Tobago who have undergone paediatric haematology/oncology training and even fellowships at SickKids, thereby equipping us with experts to provide better health care, more precise diagnoses and greater recovery rates of children diagnosed with cancer and blood disorders. Moreover, there is a cohort of 14 of nurses who have participated in the programme, navigating learning in the COVID-19context and are set to graduate this month.”