Eight New Dialysis Machines Installed At Mandeville Regional Hospital

04 May, 2021

Healthcare for renal patients in the southern region of Jamaica has received a boost with the recent installation of eight new dialysis machines at the Mandeville Regional Hospital.

The hospital serves approximately 900 renal patients annually from the parishes of Manchester, Clarendon and St. Elizabeth.

The machines, valued at $23.1 million, were purchased through funding from the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund.

Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA) Director, Michael Bent, tells JIS News that the new machines replace eight that are now obsolete.

“We had 13 machines before we received the new machines, four were relatively new, while others were from 2006 when we opened, so they were very old and they would have outlived their useful lives,” he says.

“The uptime will be higher because these are new machines so we are able to process patients quicker, persons don’t have to be rescheduling dialysis due to machines being down, so we will have greater efficiency with more reliability from these machines,” Mr. Bent adds.

The purchase of the eight dialysis machines is a part of the over $146 million donated by the CHASE Fund to buy 53 dialysis machines for five public hospitals across the country over the last six years.

Project Manager, CHASE Fund, Latoya Aquart-Foster, tells JIS News that the new machines have features that will enhance the treatment of renal patients.

“The facility is now able to operate a three-patient shift system, which means a 16-hour day for the machines to be in constant operation and because the machines are new and not breaking down, the hospital staff can effectively meet the demand of patients requiring dialysis,” she notes.

Mrs. Aquart-Foster adds that due to the critical nature of renal diseases, this purchase is important.

“Dialysis is a life-sustaining treatment and persons who have been diagnosed with end-stage renal disease will have to receive dialysis for life, unless a kidney transplant is done. Therefore, it is extremely important to have machines that are fully functional that can provide patients with uninterrupted care,” she says.

She points out that this initiative is very important to the overall mandate of the CHASE Fund.

“Under the health mandate of the organisation, two of the critical illnesses that we place great emphasis on are cancer and end-stage renal disease. This donation is therefore very important as it allows us to increase our support to persons who have been diagnosed with end-stage renal disease,” she says.

Meanwhile, Mr. Bent says the machines that were installed last month will also reduce the budget allocated to the maintenance of the machines.

“Because the previous machines were over 15 years old, the maintenance cost was very high,” he notes.

Mr. Bent tells JIS News that the health care workers are appreciative of the newly installed machines.

“The staff in the dialysis unit will be much more comfortable because they have more reliable machines in terms of the downtime, and are also able to get through with treating their patients more reliably,” he says.

Mr.  Bent tells JIS News that patients have reacted positively to the new machines.

“It will also boost the morale of the patients, as no longer will they have to come and hear that the machines are down. When we had the old machines and three or four of those went down, it would require staff to work longer hours as we have fewer machines and we still had to see the patients, because dialysis treatment is crucial to saving lives,” he adds.

Mr. Bent says there is a possibility that the number of patients being treated at the dialysis centre could be increased.

“We have a long waiting list because we have many persons who want to get dialysed, but because of not enough equipment, they have to seek dialysis elsewhere and some might even end up not doing it. We may be able to now facilitate more persons because of the increased efficiency,” he explains.

Mr. Bent expresses gratitude to the CHASE Fund for its commitment to healthcare in Jamaica.

“We want to thank the CHASE Fund for financing this project and responding to the Mandeville Hospital’s call to change these machines, so that we can serve our folks in the southern region much better. They have been a very good partner with us over the years and they helped us in 2006 to establish the dialysis centre and they have never left us, as they continue to work closely with us,” he says.

CHASE Fund Donates Printers to Infant Departments

26 Feb, 2021

Eleven early childhood institutions (ECIs) across the island have received multifunction printers, ink cartridges and paper donated by the CHASE Fund.  The printers will enable schools to provide printed work as directed by the Ministry of Education, for distribution to children who do not have access to online materials during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Principal of the Bonnett Primary and Infant School in St. Catherine, Michelle Buchanan-Simms, said the teachers at the school were happy with the equipment. “Some parents cannot afford the data and with limited connectivity the students cannot stay on for the duration of the class.  “We will be able to print and give the parents the outlines and the students will receive printed material to supplement online instruction,” she said.

Rita Thomas, a senior teacher at Marverley Primary and Infant School in Kingston, expressed delight that paper was included in the donation of the printer.

Project Manager at the CHASE Fund, Latoya Aquart-Foster, advised that the 11 beneficiary schools were chosen in consultation with the Early Childhood Commission and include the Marverley Primary and Infant in Kingston; Amity Hall Primary and Infant in St. Thomas; Village Primary and Infant in St. Ann; Clarence Brimm Basic in Trelawny; Somerton Primary and Infant in St. James; Friendship Primary and Infant and Camp Savannah ECI in Westmoreland; Harmon’s Primary and Infant  and Campbell’s Castle Primary and Infant in Manchester; Bonnett Primary and Infant in St. Catherine and Seven Ground ECI in Clarendon.

“Equipping ECIs with a printer that is able to copy, scan, fax and print and the necessary materials will impact greatly the operations of each school and directly the students who have been falling behind due to lack of resources,” she said.

The supply of printers is an expansion to the Fund’s installation of 80 SMART boards in 29 schools over a two-year period under its Technology Enhancement Programme.

Twenty per cent of all CHASE Fund resources goes towards support of the early childhood sector.  To date the Fund has spent $5.5B in the early childhood sector since 2003, building, upgrading and equipping schools and resource centres; supporting the development of early childhood materials; and providing scholarships for specialist training in Early Childhood Education among other initiatives.


CHASE Fund Project Officer, Shannon Guthrie, highlights the scanning, printing, faxing and copying capability of the multifunction printer to Rita Thomas, senior teacher at the Marverly Primary and Infant School during the presentation of the printer and accessories to the school on February 12, 2021 at the CHASE Fund office in Kingston.










CHASE Project Manager, Latoya Aquart-Foster, (left) points out features of the multifunction printer to (L-R) Shannon Guthrie, Project Officer, CHASE Fund; Michelle Buchanan-Simms, Principal, Bonnett Primary and Infant School; and Rita Thomas, senior teacher, Marverly Primary and Infant School during a presentation of the equipment on February 12, 2021 at the CHASE Fund offices in Kingston.


Pathology Laboratory- Mandeville Regional Hospital

01 Feb, 2021

The Pathology Laboratory and storage unit at the Mandeville Regional Hospital was officially opened on December 17, 2020. The laboratory was established by CHASE in partnership with the Lions Club of Mandeville at a total cost of $83M. In a virtual message, the Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. Christopher Tufton, thanked CHASE and the Lions Club of Mandeville for the joint effort in establishing the facility.  He disclosed that funding had been allocated in the 2021-2022 FY to equip the laboratory.  Once equipped, surgical specimens and biopsies for patients at the Mandeville Regional Hospital will no longer have to be sent to Cornwall Regional Hospital for processing.

CHASE CEO, W. Billy Heaven, was the keynote speaker for the event.  He informed the audience that the Fund committed $52 million in 2018 to complete the laboratory and construct a storage unit to accommodate surgical specimens, tissue blocks and slides, reagents, and also store documents.  He added that since 2007, CHASE had provided J$192M million in financial support to the Mandeville Regional Hospital including the establishment of the hospital’s dialysis unit.



W. Billy Heaven, CHASE CEO, hands over the keys to the Mandeville Regional Hospital Pathology Laboratory to Dr. Colette Hall, Regional Pathologist, at the opening of the laboratory on December 2017, 2020. Witnessing the presentation is (l-r) Alwyn Miller, CEO, Mandeville Regional Hospital; Wayne Chen, Chairman SRHA; and Wendy Coley Haynes, President, Lions Club of Mandeville.







Latoya Aquart-Foster, Project Manager (right), views the Pathology Laboratory storage unit with (l-r) Dr. Collette Hall, Regional Pathologist; Wendy Coley-Haynes, President, Lions Club of Mandeville; and Alwyn Miller, CEO, Mandeville Regional Hospital.








The opening of the laboratory was marked by the release of balloons by CHASE Fund and Mandeville Regional Hospital Staff along with members of the Lions Club of Mandeville.

High Dependency Unit Up and Running at KPH

04 Nov, 2020

In five months of operation, the High Dependency Unit (HDU) at the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) is achieving its objective of lessening the burden on the recovery rooms and the hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU). With a 16-bed capacity, the HDU offers specialist nursing care and monitoring to seriously ill patients essentially operating as an intermediate level of care between what is provided on a general ward and the ICU.

The establishment of the unit was financed with a $50 million grant from the CHASE Fund and included the provision of critical-care beds, electrical surgical suction machines, physiological patient monitors, volumetric infusion pumps and other essential equipment.

The KPH performs on average 350 major surgeries per month with 276 minor or ambulatory cases.  The ICU has seven beds and prior to the establishment of the HDU, post-operative patients would have to be accommodated in the Recovery room.

Dr Natalie Whylie, Senior Medical Officer of the KPH stated that the hospital is the main provider of Intensive/Critical Care services in the Public Health care delivery system. Each day referrals for these services are received from hospitals throughout the entire island of Jamaica and most of these patients cannot be accommodated at KPH. “The capacity of the hospital to accept and manage seriously ill has been significantly enhanced,” she said.  Dr Whylie went on to note that the efficiency of the seven– bed Intensive Care has been expanded as patients can now be transferred to the HDU, allowing for greater utilisation and access. “The increased availability of beds in the Recovery room will in turn allow for more surgical procedures to be undertaken, with the resultant reduction in the waiting time for surgery.  The KPH Team is appreciative of the ongoing partnership with the CHASE Fund though the provision of this grant,” she stated.

‘Billy’ Heaven, CEO of the CHASE Fund said the stated objectives in the proposal submitted to the Fund for more efficient delivery of care was a no-brainer. ‘The Fund appreciated the potential for the HDU which would lead to more effective use of the ICU, remove pressure from the Recovery room and provide quality care for post-operative patients,” he said. He added that the fund had to date spent $4.6 billion in the health sector by upgrading infrastructure, acquiring modern equipment and technologies for hospitals, health centres and clinics and facilitating training of health care providers and also funding public education initiatives.

Support for the HDU falls under the CHASE Fund’s Health portfolio which to date has approved $4.6 billion for initiatives in the sector.


Critical-care beds delivered to the High Dependency Unit (HDU) at the Kingston Public Hospital. The unit was established with a $50 million grant from the CHASE Fund.

CHASE Builds New Building for Wakefield Primary and Infant School

03 Sep, 2020

The Wakefield Primary and Infant School in Wakefield, St. Catherine, has been transformed into a model school with the addition of a three-classroom block, staff room, kitchen and sick bay complete with perimeter fencing for its Infant department.  The construction of the building and provision of classroom furniture, kitchen appliances and play equipment were accomplished with financial assistance in the amount of $33.8M from the CHASE Fund. The handing over ceremony of the new building, took place on Thursday August 20, 2020.

The Wakefield Primary and Infant School which was established in 1922 and has been catering to students from Wakefield, Savanna, Buxon Town, Cool Shade, Banya Gully, Heathfield and other communities.

Public Relations and Administrative Manager at the CHASE Fund, Hilary Coulton, indicated that the CHASE Fund had approved $288M for projects related to Early Childhood Education for the 2019-2020 financial year.  “The value in project approvals translated to over 52,000 square feet of infrastructure development through the construction, renovation and expansion of 17 infant schools and departments and minor renovation and equipment for seven infant schools,” she disclosed.  Ms. Coulton also noted that $50M had been directed to help 77 early childhood institutions attain certification status, through a partnership with the Early Childhood Commission (ECC).

In addition, the Fund provided scholarship support to 118 recipients enrolled at a variety of institutions including the University of the West Indies, Northern Caribbean University, University of Technology, colleges across the island and overseas colleges and universities for programmes not offered in Jamaica.

Other schools in St. Catherine which received help from the Fund are the: Marlie Hill Primary and Infant School, Cedar Valley Primary and Infant School, Waterford Infant School and the Bonnett Primary and Infant School to name a few.

To date the CHASE Fund has spent $5.315B in critical areas of the early childhood education sector.


Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre Gets Portable Ultrasound Machine

07 Jul, 2020

The Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre has been boosted with the gift of a portable ultrasound machine valued at $1.5 million.  The equipment and maintenance agreement – facilitated by the CHASE Fund, the Rotary Club of St. Andrew North and PROVEN Investment limited – is expected to significantly enhance the efficiency with which patients with spinal cord injuries are diagnosed and assessed.


Chief Medical Officer at the Centre, Dr. Rory Dixon, advised that approximately 4,400 patients are treated at the Centre annually, some with spinal cord injury. “These machines prevent patients from having to go externally to hospitals, pay for transportation with two nurses to accompany them. The portable ultrasound machine improves the health of the kidneys of patients with spinal cord injury,” he said.


The Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre provides rehabilitative health care for patients with physically altering body function.  It offers services such as: Physiotherapy, Prosthetics and Orthodontic manufacturing, speech therapy, counselling and social support and medical care.


Project Manager of the CHASE Fund, Latoya Aquart-Foster, pointed out that CHASE was pleased to partner with both the Rotary Club of St. Andrew North and PROVEN to provide the much-needed equipment to the Sir John Golding Rehhabilitation Centre.  “It will improve services to patients and that is the drive behind much of the Fund’s initiatives.”  Under its Health portfolio, the Fund supports the improvement of health facilities and the acquisition of vital equipment among other initiatives.


Lori Chuck, Past President of the Rotary Club of St. Andrew North explained that the Rotary club had supplied a portable suction machine and wheelchairs with support from C&WJ Cooperative Credit Union to the rehabilitation centre in 2019.  “We are happy to be able to return to Sir John Golding and do yet another meaningful project to the benefit of present and future patients,” she said.  Kecia Taylor, Past Director of Service Projects added that this partnership allows us to execute our Rotary vision of Service Above Self.


Commenting on PROVEN’s coverage of the cost for the five year warranty, CEO of Proven Wealth Limited, Johann Heaven said  “This forms a part of our Corporate Social response to back community development through meaningful partnership and support; and this goes towards enabling securing a vital piece of equipment that impacts and changes lives with ripple effects”.

CHASE Hands Over Book on Kingston to the Jamaica Library Service

30 Jun, 2020

The CHASE Fund has handed over 1,400 copies of its publication, Kingston: A Treasure of the Caribbean to the Jamaica Library Service (JLS) for distribution to libraries islandwide.

The book, written by David Buckley with photographs by Kent Reid, details the rich and colourful history of Kingston presented through a tour of significant landmarks and sites of architectural, historical, political and social significance.

During the presentation at the CHASE Fund on June 10, 2020, CHASE CEO, W. Billy Heaven, noted that the book was produced under the Fund’s Arts and Culture portfolio.  “Since inception, CHASE has sponsored the publication of books that enhance the collection of outstanding historic and cultural works by Jamaican authors about Jamaica and the Caribbean.  It is our hope that this book will educate and foster a renewed perspective on Jamaica’s capital,” he said.  Mr. Heaven disclosed that CHASE has so far supported 96 publications.  “The publications which have received CHASE Fund support document Jamaica’s historical and cultural experience, academic and sports achievements and feature our poetry and other creative writings,” he said.

Director General of the JLS, Maureen Thompson, in acknowledging the donation said, “This publication provides an enchanting tour of the rich history of Kingston & St. Andrew colourfully photographed with a compelling narrative.” Miss Thompson commended CHASE Fund for recognizing libraries as focal points to make the publication available to citizens.

The book will be made available in the JLS islandwide network of school libraries and select public libraries. In addition to distribution by the JLS, copies will be made available to the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, The Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation, the Ministry of Tourism and the Office of the Prime Minister.



Testing at National Influenza Centre to be Boosted by CHASE Funding of Equipment

15 Apr, 2020

The CHASE Fund is providing funding to acquire additional testing equipment and supplies for the National Influenza Centre (NIC) at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI).


Jamaica’s NIC, located in the Department of Microbiology, UHWI, is Jamaica’s only Virus Laboratory with the capacity to diagnose and isolate highly infectious viruses. The equipment, valued at $35M, is expected to enhance the capability of the Centre enabling it to test more samples quickly and accurately.  


The NIC is part of a global network of national institutions designated by Ministries of Health and recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) which participate in the work of the WHO Global Influenza Programme.  The Centre now handles testing for the novel Coronavirus.


The NIC at UWI/UHWI submits results of testing to WHO on a weekly basis on the diagnosis of circulating and emerging influenza types and subtypes. Testing for Coronavirus has been established on that relationship with the WHO. Training of UWI staff to perform the newly developed test for the SARS CoV 2 virus was provided by WHO.


Dr. Alison Nicholson, Consultant Microbiologist and Chair of the Infection Control and Prevention Committee at the UHWI, indicated that the CHASE intervention would connect the technical expertise available in the Department, with the much-needed resources required to meet the challenges of this pandemic.


Medical Chief of Staff and Consultant Neurosurgeon at the University Hospital of the West Indies, Dr. Carl Bruce, noted that increased testing was key to determining accurate number of cases and will also help to determine the need for isolation of patients, where the patients are isolated and how the patients are managed.


“This will allow for the efficient utilization of the isolation and holding areas allowing for the rapid transfer of patients from the emergency division and Intensive Care negative pressure isolation rooms to the COVID-19 wards,” Dr. Bruce said.  “It will also allow for stable positive patients to be managed at convalescent facilities or at home under supervision,” he added


The CHASE Fund, which commits 20 per cent of available resources to the Health sector annually, has also been assisting with the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ public education for COVID-19.  “The Fund has been approached for funding by several public entities since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis,” said Billy Heaven, CEO of the CHASE Fund. “We have had extensive discussions with Ministry of Health and Wellness to align our assistance with the national objectives…the commitment to the NIC is in keeping with this general thrust”.

Cardiology Unit Opened at Kingston Public Hospital

21 Nov, 2019

With the generous support of the CHASE Fund, the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) is now able to provide various types of non-invasive echocardiography testing for cardiac patients at its new Cardiology Unit. The Unit was officially opened on Wednesday, Novemmber 20, 2019.

Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, Minister of Health and Wellness, said that the $64 million investment made by CHASE increases the accessibility and standard of care to cardiac patients by increasing echocardiography services from 10 patients per week to 15 per day with the provision of additional services.

The establishment of the Unit is critical to KPH operations, as more than 25% of Jamaica’s adult population have at least one major risk factor of Cardiovascular Disease (CVD). This condition is now the leading cause of deaths and disability in Jamaica.

Additional services such as 24-48 hour ECH monitoring and stress echocardiography are now provided.  On average, 160 echocardiogram requests are received at the KPH monthly.

Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, helps unveil the plaque for the new Cardiology Unit along with (L-R): Acting CEO, KPH, Mrs. Cooper Brown; Head of the Cardiology Unit, Dr. Camille Christian; and CHASE CEO, W. Billy Heaven.



CHASE Builds New Building for Unity Primary and Infant School, Trelawny


A new building for the infant department at the Unity Primary and Infant School, was officially opened on November 14, 2019.  The renovation and expansion of the school, located in Bunkers Hill, Trelawny, was undertaken with a $28.4 million grant from the CHASE Fund.  The project included the renovation of the existing building into three classrooms; the construction of a kitchenette, sickbay, bathroom facility, storeroom, perimeter fence and administrative office; and the provision of kitchenequipment, classroom furniture, sickbay furniture and play equipment.

Infant building before CHASE intervention


This Infant department was once a stand-alone basic school formally known as the Unity Basic School. However, in September 2015, under the Ministry of Education’s Rationalization programme, this basic school was converted into an infant department.  The Infant Department now caters to 60 students from the communities of Wakefield, Adelphi, Drumilley, Deeside and Bunkers Hill.

CHASE CEO, W. Billy Heaven, cuts the ribbon to open the new school building on November 14, 2019. With him are from left: Member of Parliament, Victor Thomas; Principal, Pauline White-Anderson; and Veneisha Morgridge, Education Officer Region 3; and Unity Primary and Infant School students.