On January 16th, a new health initiative in Jamaica that caters to vulnerable mothers as they access care through the public health system was officially launched. The initiative started with booming success, attracting media attention from the Jamaica Information Service, Loop News, and The Gleaner.
“Dubbed, ‘Right Start – A Maternal and Newborn Care Initiative’, the programme is a collaboration among the Ministry of Health and Wellness, the American Friends of Jamaica (AFJ), and the Jamaicans Abroad Helping Jamaicans at Home (JAHJAH) Foundation.
The initiative will provide a range of care supplies for vulnerable mothers and their newborns and deliver improved diagnostic services across public health facilities through modern, state-of-the-art handheld ultrasound technology – Butterfly Monitors.
“The portable devices, supported by iPad technology, will enable early and rapid diagnosis, such as screening for birth or heart defects, prenatal testing and checks for pregnancy complications.
“Additionally, 100 adolescent and other vulnerable mothers will receive Snuggle Nests – a portable infant lounger/bed – as well as essential items, including diapers, skincare, oral care and hygiene products. The programme will later target some 2,000 mothers in March 2023.
“Addressing the launch at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston, today (January 16), Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, lauded the collaboration, which will enhance diagnostic care, noting that 24 handheld machines are being donated to more than 10 hospitals islandwide initially, for use in Obstetric Units and Accident and Emergency Departments.” The Jamaica Information Service reported.
“Dr. Tufton thanked partners in the venture, particularly the American Friends of Jamaica, which financed the ultrasound devices at a cost of US$25,000 and the Snuggle Nest, with supplies worth more than US$15,000.” stated Loop News.
Additionally, The Gleaner recognizes the AFJ’s massive contributions to the initiative. Reporting how “last year, [Dr. Trevor Dixon, CEO of the JAHJAH Foundation] was introduced to American Friends of Jamaica (AFJ), who were exploring the new ultrasound technology and “brilliance struck”.
Stating how the “AFJ has stepped up big time by funding devices for phase one of the Jamaica handheld ultrasound project. JAHJAH Foundation and the team at Jacobi Medical Center in Bronx, New York, have meshed their passion and dedication by committing to the ongoing education and training of doctors in ultrasound technology and the use of the Butterfly iQ Probes with our partners at The University Hospital of the West Indies and the Kingston Public Hospital,” he said, adding that all partners are committed to making the project sustainable.”
Meanwhile, AFJ President Wendy Hart said the launch of the initiative is a manifestation of joint partnership and commitment to improving the outcomes of Jamaicans. “Our goal is to have these handheld devices in as many doctors’ pockets as possible,” she said, as she thanked donors who have contributed to the foundation over the years.”
The AFJ thanks the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Bailey Medical Supplies, Dennis Shipping and JAHJAH Foundation for supporting this initiative.