How U.S. and Jamaican Doctors are Saving Jamaica’s Youngest Heart Patients
Until the middle of the 20th Century, heart attacks seldom occurred in Jamaica. But in recent years, the rate of heart disease has risen to the point where it is now the number one cause of death on an annual basis in the Caribbean country. Unfortunately, this includes children as well. In fact, the number of children with congenital heart problems in Jamaica is increasing rather than decreasing.
In response to this alarming issue, the Jamaican Children’s Heart Fund was established in connection with the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital (JDCH) in Hollywood, Florida. The fund sponsors a team of JDCH volunteer cardiac surgical doctors and nurses who provide free open heart surgery to children in Jamaica whose families cannot afford the expensive procedure. During their missions, the teams work with Jamaican doctors and medical staff to care for their young patients.
The fund is a 501C3 non-profit charity and has been active in Jamaica for 13 years.
In addition to providing free heart surgeries, the fund’s medical staff serves as strong advocates for children’s health care in the country. But perhaps more importantly, the staff is working side-by-side with Jamaican doctors, sharing ideas and learning from each other professionally while working to ease a serious, growing condition in Jamaica.
Note: As it gears up for its 2009 fund raising efforts, the Jamaican Children’s Heart Fund welcomes for the first time since its existence, recognition from a Jamaican government official as Jamaica’s ambassador to the United States, His Excellency, the Honorable Anthony Johnson, will act as the honorary guest speaker at the fund’s Mother’s Day weekend benefit event to be held in the Orlando, Florida area.