Third Year medical students at The University of the West Indies (The UWI) are turning to crowdfunding to assist in raising about $4 million to improve the facilities at the Port Maria Hospital in St Mary.
Through their third-year Smoker 2018 project, the UWI medical students will stage a series of events to raise funds to contribute to the resources of the local hospital.
Vikram Asnani, chairperson of Smoker 2018, said they have also decided to seek funding through the ISupportJamaica website, a crowd-funding platform, which is an initiative of The Jamaica National Group.
“This year is particularly significant, as we are commemorating the 70th Anniversary of The University of the West Indies and our Faculty of Medical Sciences. We are, therefore, proud to announce that the Smoker 2018 beneficiary is the Port Maria Hospital,” he said.
The funds raised will be earmarked for improving the treatment facilities at the Port Maria Hospital; and to equip it with resources to provide optimal health care, thereby contributing to an improvement in healthcare delivery.
Dr Kurdell Espinosa, senior medical officer at the Port Maria Hospital, said the members of staff and patients were happy to be selected as this year’s recipient of the Smoker 2018 project.
“The Port Maria Hospital, like many of our government hospitals, has suffered from the shortage of critical resources. For example, we are in need of medical equipment; and, a perimeter fence, to secure the premises for our patients and members of staff,” she pointed out.
Espinosa said it was her hope that the funds raised from the partnership with Smoker 2018, would assist in addressing some of the needs of the hospital.
Dr. Tomlin Paul, dean of the Faculty of Medical Sciences, said that over the years Smoker projects have benefited the health sector.
“Throughout the years, the Smoker event has made significant contributions to the health sector. As a medical student, I saw the direct impact of Smoker, not only on the beneficiary hospital; but, also on the students involved. We, therefore need your help to reach our goal and to make a lasting impact on Port Maria Hospital,” he said.
Phillip Lindsey, ISupportJamaica operations officer, at The Jamaica National Group, said persons can support The UWI Smoker initiative by visiting the ISupportJamaica website.
“The website is a simple, creative, secure online facility via which Jamaicans, locally and overseas, along with friends of Jamaica, can provide financial support to micro-enterprises, and not-for-profit entities, such as Smoker 2018,” Lindsey informed.
Interested persons can donate to the Smoker initiative by visiting the ISupport Jamaica platform at www.isupportjamaica.com, click on the Smoker 2018 project; and then click the “Fund Project” button, the operations officer explained.
Donations can also be made via PayPal; JN Live E-banking; by visiting any JN Branch, or MoneyShop; and through interbank transfers.
The Port Maria Hospital is a type C, 60-bed hospital, which serves a population of more than 125,000 persons. The hospital offers several services, such as: labour and delivery; paediatrics; accident and emergency; laboratory and x-ray.