Scotiabank Donates Canadian $1M to SickKids-Caribbean Initiative

October 27, 2021 – The SickKids-Caribbean Initiative (SCI), funded in part by Scotiabank, continues to improve access to health services for children in six Caribbean countries who are diagnosed with cancer and blood disorders.

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.

With Scotiabank’s support in Phase 1 as the main telemedicine partner, 7 telemedicine facilities were completed across the region with Jamaica currently benefiting through The Bustamante Hospital for Children and University Hospital of the West Indies.

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. Gilian Wharfe - Paediatric Oncologist and one of the lead physician representatives for Jamaica said, “The involvement with SCI has had a positive impact through its well-planned strategy of a multi-faceted approach towards enhancing patient care. Guidelines have allowed uniformity of care whilst still allowing for flexibility in application of the guidelines based on resource constraints or to guide the acquisition of essential resources. Case consultations allow timely guidance on management of challenging cases by allowing access to specialists with expertise in the area of concern, whilst case rounds allow us to look at investigative strategies and care plans in both common and rare disorders. At the end of the day whilst staff enhance knowledge, it is with a bigger goal to enhance patient care and outcomes. Long term, it would also allow us to develop a cadre of local/regional experts to allow sustainability of expert care for the relevant persons whose disease outcomes we want to impact more positively.”

Commenting on the efforts of the SCI in Jamaica, Audrey Tugwell Henry, President and CEO, Scotiabank Jamaica said “ We are very happy to give our support to this important initiative which is providing training  for our local healthcare professionals and has tremendously improved the quality and affordability of care that is available for children diagnosed with cancer and blood disorders. We are also very pleased that even during the pandemic the SCI continues to make significant progress in positively impacting lives of young children who are our future.”

Tugwell Henry also noted that the initiative is well aligned to Scotiabank’s core purpose – for every future.