By Sheria Brathwaite
The Barbados Canada Foundation (BCF) donated four new pieces of equipment to the Ophthalmology Department in an effort to help the Lion’s Eye Care Centre at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) improve its services.
During the donation ceremony on Wednesday, head of the department Mr David Callender said the slit lamps – machines used to examine the eyes – would go a long way.
“This is the busiest outpatient department in the hospital and we use our equipment heavily . . . . Heavy use has caused wear and tear and it was recognised that we were not seeing patients quickly enough because the equipment wasn’t working properly. So the best way forward was to get new equipment and the hospital, of course, could not buy it. So the seeds were planted for new lamps to be acquired.
“We got four new slit lamps. These slit lamps are the newest model available in this brand. They’re very efficient, they’re effective and they don’t require bulbs. They use LED lights so we don’t have to worry about any bulbs blowing, and they’re very compact. We started using them already and it gives us the possibility to see more patients faster because the clinics are very big. So we are thankful for the acquisition of the new pieces of equipment,” he said.
The slit lamps are worth $111 400. They are currently 13 slit lamps in use at the QEH but four are in need of repairs. The newly donated slit lamps will replace those and the old equipment will be utilised in broader optometric services across the country.
Director of Medical Services at the QEH Mr Anthony Harris thanked the BCF, adding that such partnerships were critical to the functioning of the hospital.
“We would ideally like to have $100 million to replenish and refurbish the equipment across the hospital. It sounds like an awful lot of money but medical equipment is extremely expensive, as I’m sure you are aware. And so, it is vital that these contributions add to the replacement of equipment . . . .
“It is vital to ensure that we keep our equipment functioning to the highest ideal, allowing us to do the work that we want to do, which is first-world medical procedures and operations. And so we at the hospital have established a desk of philanthropy . . . . The desk of philanthropy is really there to promote and gather donations such as these . . . . So philanthropy to medical institutions is an extremely large, robust and necessary business,” he said.
BCF representative Earl Gill said his organisation was committed to improving the lives of Barbadians.
He said while the equipment might not fully satisfy the needs of the Ophthalmology Department, “it will certainly allow the world-class doctors and supporting staff of the QEH to enhance and improve patient care”.
One of the primary purposes of the BCF, which was founded in August 2013, is to promote health by providing medical equipment and supplies to hospitals and public health facilities in Barbados for the benefit of the public.
In 2018, after receiving special dispensation from the Canada Revenue Agency, the BCF entered into an agreement with the QEH to donate medical equipment. To date, the organisation has donated over $228 000 in equipment through a fundraising event called Bring on the Spring which has been held in Toronto every year since 2019.
The BCF will also be donating transport monitors with carts and accessories at a cost of $96 000.