Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Tuesday | January 15, 2013
Home : The Shipping Industry
SAJ supports Annotto Bay Hospital
Dr Ray Fraser, senior medical officer for the Annotto Bay Hospital, shows members of the SAJ team a makeshift dressing area converted from a verandah at the hospital. Several departments at the hospital were damaged during the passage of Hurricane Sandy.
The Shipping Association of Jamaica (SAJ) is supporting the Annotto Bay Hospital with its hurricane-recovery process through the loan of its mobile health clinic.

The hospital, which was extensively damaged by Hurricane Sandy, is without the use of its Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department, its Paediatric Department, and other key areas. Since October 31, 2012, the SAJ's mobile clinic has been in use as an outpatient facility, serving surgical, medical, psychiatric, gynaecological, as well as paediatric patients.

Trevor Riley, general manager of the SAJ, said the decision to provide assistance to the Annotto Bay Hospital was an easy one as the association has maintained a policy to serve the community in whatever way possible. He says the association has provided health care to communities across Jamaica using its mobile clinic for more than 20 years, and has partnered with Rotary Clubs to provide similar services for the last five years.

"The damage to the facility is heartbreaking, and we are humbled by the opportunity to serve the community of Annotto Bay," Riley said. "We are encouraged by the spirit of the hospital's staff who continues to work assiduously to provide the best medical care, despite the limited facilities."

Dr Ray Fraser, senior medical officer for the hospital, expressed his gratitude to the SAJ and noted that the unit has been a tremendous help to the hospital and the communities it serves. Dr Fraser said, "Without the unit, I don't know what we would have done with our patients. The A&E area has been compromised to the extent that we have had to enclose passageways and verandahs to accommodate emergencies."

He said that, on average, the clinic hosts between 150 and 200 patients daily. This number includes emergency visits, referrals and outpatients.

Dr Fraser said that, in addition to infrastructural damage, the hospital lost medical supplies and equipment during the hurricane. "We are in need of incubators, monitors, examination beds, blood pressure machines, diagnostic sets, defibrillators, giving sets, drip stands, sutures, dressing sets, and much more."

support the recovery process

He's appealing to Jamaicans to support the recovery process in whatever way possible. "Nothing is too small, as the hospital has been severely damaged and we are in need of just about everything, from medical supplies to medical equipment, to building material and professional expertise," Dr Fraser said.

The SAJ has committed the use of its mobile clinic until the A&E Department is restored to normality. The SAJ's mobile clinic is a 40ft unit, converted from a shipping container. It is used to serve the Greenwich Farm community with twice-monthly clinics. The SAJ also partners with various Rotary Clubs to provide health care to several communities across the island.

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