Home > Missions > Health Fairs > Covid 19 Relief to Savanna La Mar Public General Hospital

The New Jersey-based JAHJAH Foundation, which has been in operation since 2007, sent teams of medical experts on a mission to Jamaica on October 17 to help the Savanna-la-Mar Public General Hospital.

The volunteer group also brought a number of items and specialised equipment, including pulse oximeters, personal protective gear, and isolation gowns. The mission will be working in the hospital until December 17.

Karen Shields, JAHJAH’s Jamaican liaison, said that nine volunteers have come from the foundation to date, with an additional 40 persons expected to arrive over the next coming weeks.

“During the first week, our advance team went in to do a walkthrough of the location and to give feedback to the clinical team, which came on October 26, in terms of how things work and how we would be able to collaborate with the hospital,” said Shields. “There have been nine volunteers so far, and we have over 40 overall volunteers confirmed, with our goal being to get 50 volunteers.”

During their stay at the hospital, the JAHJAH Foundation will provide additional Intensive Care Unit treatment ,where needed; ensure that COVID-19 patients receive timely care; and collaborate with Westmoreland’s public health system to provide effective healthcare delivery. The volunteers will work on a rotation schedule lasting between seven to 10 days over the three months.

“We have two medical doctors specialising in emergency medicine and ultrasound on the current team of volunteers. We also have a physician’s assistant, a nurse practitioner, and a registered nurse. We have had a mental health practitioner on the advanced team, and she brought in over 200 mental health care packets to give to the Savanna-la-Mar Hospital’s Mental Health Department,” said Shields.

“The team has been well received by the staff at the hospital, and we have been getting good feedback from the volunteers themselves, as they are excited and they want to help,” she added.

The JAHJAH Foundation’s aid is timely for the Savanna-la-Mar Hospital, which has struggled with bed-space capacity due to their in-house COVID-19 patients exceeding the hospital’s 205-bed capacity. At present, a field hospital with a 30-bed capacity is under construction to ease the hospital’s congestion.

St Andrade Sinclair, regional director of the Western Regional Health Authority, which has responsibility for the Savanna-la-Mar Hospital, praised the JAHJAH Foundation’s assistance.

“The group had volunteered originally to assist with the field hospital, and with providing assistance where medical health is concerned, but we have had some changes there recently. With the downward trend of the COVID-19 Delta variant, things have changed tremendously in the best way for us, because our COVID numbers have gone down significantly. But the foundation’s help still gives us a break, and it is a very good initiative,” said Sinclair.

Other partners in the initiative include the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Help Jamaica Medical Mission, and the Jamaica Group of Nurses New York Incorporated.