CIBC FirstCaribbean has pledged a further USD$1 million for phase II of the SickKids-Caribbean Initiative (SCI) which focusses on the improvement of outcomes and quality of life for children with cancer and other blood disorders across the region.
The regional bank signed another Memorandum of Understanding with SickKids Foundation of Canada, which underwrites the regional effort to provide support for additional specialised nurse training, as well as for research and advocacy over a five-year period.
In 2013, with the support of SickKids Foundation, the SickKids-Caribbean Initiative (SCI), a not-for-profit partnership with the University of the West Indies (UWI), Ministries of Health, hospitals and institutions in six Caribbean countries, and the SickKids Centre for Global Child Health, was established. This partnership focuses on building sustainable local capacity to diagnose, treat, and manage paediatric cancers and blood disorders.
CIBC FirstCaribbean joined the effort, pledging USD$1 million over a seven-year period (2014 – 2020) through its charitable arm, FirstCaribbean International ComTrust Foundation. As nurse training partner, the bank supported the development of a Paediatric Haematology/Oncology Nursing Education program at the University of the West Indies School of Nursing (UWISoN), Trinidad and Tobago. The program aims to build nursing capacity in the Caribbean by developing highly-skilled clinical nurses and leaders who advocate for patients and their families, conduct quality improvement initiatives, and mentor other health care providers to deliver safe and effective paediatric care.
To date 27 nurses from Barbados, The Bahamas, Jamaica, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago have completed the specialised one-year diploma programme.
Chief Executive Officer of CIBC FirstCaribbean, Colette Delaney, hailed the bank’s support for the SickKids-Caribbean Initiative as “one of the most significant partnerships our bank has entered in the region. The life expectancy and quality of life of this region’s most vulnerable and valuable citizens – our children – who are battling this disease is being significantly impacted by the work of SCI.”
“We are confident that phase II will build on those gains as we train more nurses, doctors and other medical professionals and facilitate research to support policy recommendations and advocacy,” said Ms Delaney, who is also the Chair of the FirstCaribbean International ComTrust Foundation.
To ensure the work of SCI has a lasting impact, a special SCI advisory committee comprised of business leaders across the Caribbean, will be dedicated to furthering the mission of SCI. The committee, of which Ms Delaney is a member, will also work with businesses, charities, and governments, including ministries of health, to ensure there is enough capital to continue the work of SCI in the region.
Since the start of the initiative, SCI has installed seven telemedicine sites in hospitals in the six partner countries; trained four excellent, committed haematology/oncology Caribbean fellows; completed more than 450 case consultations; created clinical care guidance documents and supportive guidance documents, all adapted for the local settings; completed more than 70,000 specialized diagnostic tests; registered more than 600 patients in custom-built, local paediatric oncology databases; trained 27 nurses from five countries in the post-basic haematology/oncology diploma programme at the University of the West Indies School of Nursing; and participated in knowledge translation activities aimed at sharing SCI’s approach, challenges and success. Underpinning these activities is critical research that will inform policy recommendations for the region.
Phase II of SCI will see 13 more regional nurses begin training in the specialised care of children with blood disorders and cancers. There will also be continued efforts to conduct critical research and work with governments and academic institutions to develop effective national and regional strategies to improve outcomes for children with blood disorders and cancer.
The latest partnership between the bank and SCI runs between 2019 and 2024.