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(PRESS RELEASE VIA SNO) – A Caribbean -based organization has joined forces with Saint Lucia’s Health Sector to treat critically ill children and build healthcare capacity.
The Ministry Health & Wellness has partnered with the World Pediatric Project with a mission to heal children who suffer from scoliosis disorders. On Friday the 24th of August, 2018, a team from the non-profit organization got the ball rolling at the Victoria Hospital. Lovelyn Butcher, Saint Lucia’s representative for World Pediatric Project explains.
“The World Pediatric Project is having its first ever scoliosis evaluation in Saint Lucia. Normally the organization would have done cardiology and physical therapy on the island but the numbers that we have been seeing for the scoliosis cases have been increasing for the past few years so we have decided to have this evaluation today and tomorrow will also be at the St. Jude hospital.”
Scoliosis is a disorder that causes an abnormal curve of the spine, or backbone. Dr. Chester Sharps, the Orthopedist for World Pediatric Project described the approach, process and procedure used in dealing with the disorder.
“When we see people with scoliosis, they fall into sort of three treatment categories one is just watching it or observation. We will see the back periodically to determine if the curves are worst or not. The second kind of treatment is bracing and like I said we have identified several people that needed braces today and we have our bracing program and someone coming back in November to make braces for them. The third thing we do is surgery for this, right now our hub is in St. Vincent and we take the patients to St. Vincent for surgery and every once in a while we see curves that are so bad that we need to take them to the United States. The level of care and pediatric and intensive care units and so on is something you know, that’s what we need to do, to do it successfully and safely”.
Lauren Mcintosh, Executive Director for the Eastern Caribbean for World Pediatric Project said, her organization is thankful for the support received from the Ministry of Health and by extension the Government of Saint Lucia.
“I would just like to appeal to Saint Lucians, I mean we have a country representative here Lovelyn Butcher and you could contact her if it is you think that your child requires any sort of access to critical pediatric care. The surgeries are actually free of cost because our doctors are coming from the US and they volunteer their services. So more so when you come to St. Vincent if you need the surgery then you just have to pay for your travel and accommodations. I also want to say thank you to the Ministry of Health and Government of Saint Lucia for partnering and facilitating us.”
“Who feels it, knows it” were the words of Michelle Herman, whose daughter suffered with a scoliosis disorder. Whilst addressing media personnel, Herman described the impact of the condition on her daughter’s life and appealed to other parents, asking them to take advantage of the opportunity and support their kids during this ordeal.
“The pain is the first sign for her because every time she sat or if she stayed in a positon for too long she would suffer with back pains. Then after a while it became a lung issue, her ribcage would hurt and her chest would hurt, so you found the pain was starting to get into it and for her because of that pain the mental focus, the capacity maybe always thinking people are watching her because of her shoulder you tend to have this sort of stigma of people watching you and that is also a self-conscious aspect and it brings down the confidence in them..”
“Trust me the children do know what they are feeling, listen to them and also take advantage of the Pediatric care because this surgery is not cheap and it involves screws, it is three, four hours sometimes seven. It is an intensive surgery but it is a worthwhile surgery and take advantage of it whilst it is free.”
Scoliosis is a major global problem affecting an estimated 28 million patients, mostly children in the age of 10-16 years.