Sickkids and WCPD team up in Bahamas

WCPD Foundation made a donation to The SickKids-Caribbean Initiative (SCI) this month to help support specific healthcare efforts in the Bahamas.

Since SCI launched in February 2013, the program has raised more than $7 million on behalf of the six participating countries in the Caribbean, which include Barbados, Jamaica, St. Lucia and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Bahamas.

The initiative focuses on enhancing capacity of care in pediatric cancer and blood disorders.

Peter Nicholson, president and founder of GIV Bahamas Inc., said that Foundation was pleased to support the cause.

He hoped it could lead to greater support for Exuma’s new $14 million hospital.

“Exuma is already a hot-bed for Canadians,” he added. “So it is great to work with such an established healthcare provider in our own backyard. Together, we could really make a difference in Exuma and in the Bahamas at large.”

The donation comes on the heels of Nicholson’s appointment to the Board of Trustees at the Exuma Foundation.

Nicholson is now looking to establish a Canadian wing to the Exuma Foundation so citizens can make tax-deductible donations. With many Canadian second-home owners and investors on the island, the move could produce tremendous results for the community.

In particular, Exuma’s new $14 million hospital, which has yet to open and be outfitted with medical equipment, could receive a much-needed boost.

Nicholson, who owns a majority share of Grand Isle Resort & Spa on Exuma, is now working with SCI to put on a special fundraising event at the resort in late 2014 to bring stakeholders together for the common good.

Colin Hennigar, associate director of major gifts at SickKids Foundation, said that WCPD Foundation’s donation will have a tangible impact.

“In terms of the project in general, we have already start seeing results. We have started tele-medicine rooms in Nassau, Bahamas, and another in Barbados,” he explained. “We have trained a pediatric oncologist in Jamaica. We are training a second Jamaican at SickKids now. And we have trained seven lab technicians from the Caribbean. It is definitely a great project and we’re starting to see benefits.”

Tele-medicine in particular holds great potential for archipelago nations, such as the Bahamas.

Exuma, for example, which has a low population compared to Nassau, could receive top-notch care and advice via this technology from physicians anywhere in the world.

Hennigar said that SCI was the brainchild of Dr. Victor Blanchette of SickKids, who is originally from Barbados.

The idea came about after one of his patients, a child from Barbados, received effective cancer treatment in Toronto. After the treatment, the child’s mother was shocked to hear that the survival rate, back in her homeland of Barbados, would have been less than 50%.

The mother decided to commission a feasibility study to discover why.

The study determined that poor physician training, the lack of a proper registered database and the sheer absence of pediatric oncologists in many Caribbean nations had largely contributed to the problem.

“Our focus now is building capacity, which leads to sustainability,” Hennigar added.

To learn more about SCI, you can visit their website at: