Barbados has first class physicians who can rival those of more developed countries. But the problem they face is that they are not equipped with the tools which many of these overseas countries have.
This was the contention of Robert Bourque, project coordinator of the Broadway to Barbados Charitable Trust, an organization which pledged to start making a dent into getting tools that would help local medical practitioners to provide a much higher level of care.
Hence, the trust has for the second consecutive year endeavoured to raise funds that will go towards the refurbishment of the Medical Intensive Care Unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Speaking in the broadroom of the QEH recently to announce the return of the Diamonds International sponsored-Broadway To Barbados show, Bourque said that especially during these difficult economic times it was exceedingly important that the private sector become more involved in trying to assist the country.
“We felt that the development of a new ICU with modern state-of-the-art equipment would be beneficial to each and every Barbadian resident. [So] we must get the private sector involved, that is why we have come forward, that is why all of our sponsors have come forward and hope that through this project . . . more and more companies will come forward,” he said while adding that persons could no longer continue to rely on Government solely for critical medical support.
“This being the major critical care facility in Barbados . . . it is absolutely critical and vital that it has a state-of-the-art intensive care unit that anyone and everyone who comes to this hospital will be afforded the opportunity of state-of-the-art diagnostic equipemnt, state-of-the-art monitoring equipment . . . . There are many private clinics setting up and they provide excellent support but not everybody can afford to go to them and this is [why] we need to have state-of-the-art medical care [facility] for all citizens, residents [and] visitors,” he said.
Last year’s sell-out shows raised an estimated $275,000 for the project. Having held Broadway To Barbados previously, 2013 was the first year the show returned to the island after a break. This year the event will run from March 20 to 27 each night at Frank Collymore Hall. It will feature a quality cast including some of the best Broadway performers from New York.
Having exceeded all expectations last year, the producers were once again encouraged they will raise a substantial sum of money for the hospital next month also.
Nonetheless, Bourque urged businesses and other associations to get involved and recognise a niche market could be created
“I don’t think that the hotels have used this strategy, once it is up and running, I believe it will be a strong selling point to tell potential visitors to this island that in the event of some unforeseen medical problem there will be this state-of-the-art facility. And I believe through this initiative there is a good number of other initiatives and projects that will be developed.
“When people think about contributing to the hospital it seems to be a very onerous and impossible task but if you break it down into individual projects . . . and you get many different parties involved in separate projects, never mind that the building is old and it hasn’t perhaps had the funds to up keep it, then at the end of the day we can accomplish much and provide a lot of support to this medical facility,” he said as he added that they would possibly expand next into the Accident and Emergency department.
Thanking the sponsors for supporting the project Head of the department of medical Dr Anne-Marie Hassell reiterated that this undertaking was not just one for the hospital but rather it was a project for the people of Barbados. Since plans for its refurbishment was conceived in the early part of the 2000’s they were met by a number of obstacles but with the early assistance of the Rotary Club of Barbados West they were able to raise funds for renovation from a six bedded unit to a 12 bedded unit. Now eight years later they are preparing to complete the new unit and are hoping that within the next few months it will be completed.
Dr Hassell said: “Any and everyone could end uo in the ICU and we want to be able to take care of everyone with the same ability you would have if you went overseas. And this project is allowing us to do that.”