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21 Dialysis Machines donated to Jamaica

WASHINGTON, DC – Twenty one dialysis machines are to arrive in the island soon, to boost health care delivery.

The machines, valued at US$315,000, have been donated by the Division of Nephrology and the Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University of Nashville, Tennessee.

Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Professor Gordon Shirley, accepted the gift on behalf of the government, at a ceremony on Friday, July 13.

Ambassador Shirley expressed the government’s gratitude for the machines, pointing out that they were very timely, as they would help to address a critical area of health care need in the island.

He commended the university for its very generous offer which, he said, would be appreciated by Jamaicans, especially those who were in need of this vital service.

Ambassador Shirley expressed special thanks to Jamaican-born Registered Nurse, Richard Phidd, Patient Care Services Manager at Vanderbilt, and Wayland Richards, President of the Tennessee-based Organization for Strategic Development in Jamaica (OSDJ), who spearheaded the drive to get the equipment donation.

“This is the one of the highest expressions of commitment by Jamaicans in the Diaspora. It is very praiseworthy that individuals, such as Mr. Phidd and Mr. Richards, along with other Jamaicans in Tennessee can contribute to their adopted country with their fine expertise, and at the same time make such valuable contribution to their native land,” he said.

In his remarks, Mr. Phidd said that after the death of a family friend from kidney failure, he decided to do everything he could to assist persons in Jamaica who needed kidney treatment. He said he approached the university, which came forward with the donation of the dialysis machines.

For his part, Mr. Richards said that in September, a team from Vanderbilt University would visit the hospitals where the machines are to be deployed. He also noted that the OSDJ would be putting together a proposal to seek start-up capital to cover the first year of operation for the machines, and would organize a fund-raising event in Nashville later this year, to purchase additional equipment.

Also attending the presentation ceremony were Everard Barton of the Department of Medicine at the University Hospital of the West Indies, and Hopeton Falconer of the Mandeville Hospital.

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