As many Bajans know and many of us who lived in Barbados, the radiotherapy treatment unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital had been in disuse for a number of years on account of the island's economic problems. (See also: http://www.brane-space.blogspot.com/2010/05/will-barbados-fall-to-sovereign-debt.html) Because of having to cut costs, and not even being able to afford service contracts, the Hospital had to send cancer patients over to Trinidad for treatments.
Now this situation has ended, with the generous donation of $3.5 million by Barbados-born superstar Rhianna, to set up a Center for Oncology and Nuclear Medicine at the QEH. The gift was made possible through the The Clara Lionel Foundation, for the QEH radiotherapy department, which now bears the name of the late Clara Brathwaite - Rhianna's grandmother, who died of cancer.
At the renaming ceremony, Chief Executive Officer of the QEH, Dr. Dexter James, said that the renaming of the department as ‘The Clara Brathwaite Center for Oncology and Nuclear Medicine’, demonstrates the significant role that philanthropy plays in the financing arrangement of health systems.
The Chief Executive Office revealed that negotiations began with the Clara Lionel Foundation in early July, when the Foundation approached the management of the hospital requesting ways in which they could support it. It was determined that a donation of radiotherapy equipment (cobalt unit, brachytherapy) in support of patients who require treatment for various forms of cancer was most prudent.
Dr. James told those gathered that at the end of that meeting it was agreed that the Foundation would donate three major pieces of equipment – an Equinox External Beam Therapy System and related equipment at a cost of US $905 767; a Brachytherapy Treatment Planning System and related equipment valued at US $638 000 and a Gamma Camera valued at approximately US $350 000 to assist in the care of such patients.
Dr. James went on to say:
“The donation of this oncology equipment is very timely for it was only about two weeks ago that we launched our equipment prospectus [for] 2012. The prospectus presents a list of equipment of the highest priority that would have the greatest impact on patient care and improvement to quality and good outcomes,”
The CEO reported to those gathered, including the family of the late Clara Brathwaite, that the already-purchased Equinox External Beam Therapy System, is expected to be shipped by mid-January 2013, and it is anticipated that it would be in operation by early March. The remaining equipment to be delivered within one year after that installation. Once the equipment is in use, it will allow for faster turnaround times for setup of treatment. As a result, patients can expect that the backlogs will be reduced.
Moreover, he gave those present the assurance that the necessary preventative maintenance contracts would be implemented on each installation and that the hospital would uphold the terms of the grant agreement with the Foundation in its entirety.
Speaking on behalf of the Foundation, Rihanna said that the donation was her way of giving back to the country of her birth and to assist the QEH in its continued modernization efforts.
Rhianna added, after the ceremony:
"“I believe that this will have a huge impact on the people of
Kudos to this super star singer for making the new year a much better one for all the cancer patients in Bim!