Two years ago members of the Bankers Association of Saint Lucia (BA), comprising of RBC/RBTT Group, Scotiabank, CIBC FirstCaribbean, Bank of Saint Lucia, 1st National Bank together with First Citizens Investment Services, St. Lucia Development Bank and FICS, contributed to the life-saving cause of a Dialysis Machine for the Saint Jude Hospital Renal Unit.
The St. Jude Hospital has faced immense challenges, especially after having to be relocated to the George Odlum Stadium following a fire at the original hospital in September 2009.
Maintaining a renal unit and delivering this much needed service to the community has been among the major issues facing the health care facility.
The number of dialysis machines on the island is limited and patients with kidney problems must undergo costly dialysis several times per week. Before the renal unit was established in the south patients had to travel to Castries for treatment.
According to past president of the Bankers Association Ms. Joanna Charles, who was intricately involved in the process: “The decision to purchase the dialysis unit was largely influenced by the number of employees at the various banks who were undergoing dialysis treatment, also the family members of employees and the challenges they faced in actually getting the treatment due to inadequate capacity of the centre to serve the large volumes of patients with kidney problems. It meant that the supply was inadequate to satisfy demand and people were dying as a consequence.”
After being alerted to the situation the Bankers Association contacted the Ministry of Health who identified a supplier to provide the relevant equipment, they also assisted in the process of getting the machine to the island. Then the four Commercial Banks together with three auxiliary member financial institutions made a contribution towards purchasing the unit.
“This was our way of giving back to society as a group,” explained Ms. Charles. “We saw this as a chance to do something that is totally unrelated to banking; that the entire nation could benefit from in a very tangible way. It was a social call that we are very proud to have responded to and it was our way of thanking the nation for their patronage throughout the years.”
The donation by the BA was definitely timely and during a visit to the Vieux Fort institution on Thursday August 14th members of the association got to witness firsthand the hard work of the nurses and doctors of the Renal Unit.
The current President of the Bankers Association Mrs. Corliss Charles- Sutton spoke with the Physician in Charge of the South Dialysis Unit, Dr. Olusina Adesanya, who explained the process that many have to undergo weekly.
“Dialysis is performed when someone’s kidneys fail and it can no longer clean their blood,” he explained. “When a person experiences kidney failure they need treatment to replace the work of the kidneys and that is what we do here.
“The need for dialysis treatment in Saint Lucia cannot be understated,” said Dr. Adesanya as he took the three-member group on a tour of the unit. “We are so thankful to the Bankers Association because this machine has helped us to increase the number of people we can assist and we have saved lives because of it. Before people would have to travel a great distance to get treatment which was even more of a cost for them. But we now have six machines and this has helped.”
Mrs. Charles-Sutton commended the work of the healthcare professionals at the unit. She spoke to nurses and thanked them for their tireless efforts to make sure the patients are taken care of and comfortable.
“Your task everyday is truly selfless in providing health care in Saint Lucia and we commend and admire your contribution,” said Mrs. Charles-Sutton. “We thank and appreciate all the financial institutions under the BA that contributed to enabling this cause. It was funds well spent and we will continue to assist where we can in the St.Lucian community.”