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Scotiabank, Park Street.

Scotiabank has poured an additional $1 million dollars into the SickKids-Caribbean Initiative (SCI), which is set to enter its second phase.

SCI is aimed at improving the diagnosis and subsequent management of paediatric patients with cancer and blood disorders, as well as providing training and education in the areas of haematology/oncology, nursing, and laboratory services.

It was created with the support of SickKids Foundation in partnership with the SickKids Centre for Global Child Health, the University of the West Indies (UWI), Ministries of Health and key hospitals and institutions in The Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Scotiabank had funded the initiative to improve access to health services for children in the Caribbean. Scotiabank’s involvement in Phase 1 as the main telemedicine partner, allowed for the completion of 7 telemedicine facilities across the region with Trinidad and Tobago currently benefiting through The Wendy Fitzwilliam Paediatric Hospital, Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex in Champs Fleurs.

In a release yesterday, Scotiabank confirmed that Phase 2 of the initiative, which is set to run until March 1, 2022, will receive an additional $1 million Canadian dollars from Scotiabank.

Anya Schnoor, Executive Vice President, Caribbean, Central America and Uruguay, Scotiabank said, “We’re pleased that our support for the SCI has enhanced access to critical care for children in the Caribbean with cancer and blood disorders.”

She continued, “Guided by our core purpose—For Every Future, we want to help young people lead fulfilling lives. The SCI has also increased the capacity of doctors and nurses to provide timely, accurate diagnosis and high-quality follow-up care, helping ensure future paediatric patients can benefit.”

In spite of the many challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the SCI has helped achieve the completion of 618 case consultations, 41 nurses, 5 Caribbean paediatricians trained or training in haematology/oncology, 504 specialised diagnostic tests for patients diagnosed with leukaemia and116,190 newborn sickle cell disease screening tests

Dr Curt Bodkyn, Paediatric Oncologist and SCI co-lead physician representative for Trinidad and Tobago said, “The excellent foundation laid by the SCI collaboration has ensured that the care for children with cancer and blood disorders in the Caribbean region is on a sure footing, both during this COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.”

Gayle Pazos­, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Scotiabank Trinidad and Tobago added, “The progress the SCI has made to date is commendable. There have been several doctors and nurses from across the region, including from here in Trinidad and Tobago who have undergone paediatric haematology/oncology training and even fellowships at SickKids, thereby equipping us with experts to provide better health care, more precise diagnoses and greater recovery rates of children diagnosed with cancer and blood disorders. Moreover, there is a cohort of 14 nurses who have participated in the programme, navigating learning in the COVID-19 context and are set to graduate this month.”