Two years ago the Milwaukee (WI) chapter set forth on a journey to address the health disparities in Jamaica. We were aware that resources and technology were stretched far beyond capacity at Falmouth Hospital in Jamaica.
Falmouth is the chief town and capitol of the parish of Trelawny with a population of 600,000+ residents. Falmouth Hospital, established in 1954, provides care for more than 75,000 of its citizens who depend on the public healthcare system. Over the last five years this need has only increased as Falmouth’s population continued to grow at an annual rate of seventy-five percent. Falmouth’s resource battle became an even bigger challenge with the recent closing of nearby Cornwall Public Hospital. Falmouth saw their patient numbers soar as they looked to absorb Cornwall’s more than 100,000 patients.
The Milwaukee (WI) team learned that Falmouth Hospital was without an ultrasound machine after their old equipment failed two years prior. Patients requiring ultrasound scans were forced to make the long 120-mile journey to Kingston, where they were placed on a two-year waiting list. The only other alternative was to seek care from a private provider. However, the $70 scanning fee made this option beyond the reach of the majority of Falmouth’s population.
Imagine how unnerving it would be to have to wait two years before learning if that lump in your breast was benign or malignant, or if that pain in your spouse’s abdomen was something more than indigestion. And yet this is the reality for thousands in Jamaica. On the day the ultrasound was delivered and presented to Falmouth hospital anxious patients lined up to be seen. A critically injured man waited twelve hours and was able to be scanned and rushed to surgery. It quickly became apparent to all present that this act of service to Falmouth Hospital through this ultrasound will deliver a higher quality of medical care and save lives.
The Milwaukee (WI) Chapter made this donation of the portable ultrasound machine on behalf of our 16th National President Dr. Glenda Newell-Harris. We are grateful to our supporting partners: GE Healthcare, Aurora Healthcare, Arel Distributors, Pastor Leroy and Mrs. Nordia Rose and A.L.I.V.E Inc. Milwaukee. We also thank Mr. McLennon and the Falmouth Hospital staff for allowing us to be a part of this truly “life altering” experience.