Kingston, April 14, 2023 -The Heart Foundation of Jamaica’s (HFJ) screening services have received another boost from the CHASE Fund with the donation of a new echocardiogram machine at a cost of $9 million. The machine was officially handed over yesterday by the Chief Executive Officer of the CHASE Fund, Mr. W. Billy Heaven at the HFJ headquarters.
Mr. Heaven pointed to cardiovascular disease (CVD) as leading cause of death in Jamaica and the critical need for the machine to aid in its diagnosis and early detection. “The Heart Foundation plays an important role in the healthcare landscape in terms of screening for hypertension, diabetes, and heart-related illnesses as well as public education in these areas. CHASE’s focus on primary healthcare in Jamaica is deliberate and in keeping with the national direction and policy; and so, our support of these activities is important,” he said.
The echocardiogram machine allows physicians to evaluate the heart without inserting tubes or wires. The images produced allows the physician to identify various abnormalities in the heart.
In Jamaica and other Caribbean countries, CVD accounts for four of the five leading causes of death. Some of the risk factors responsible for CVD include physical inactivity, tobacco and alcohol use, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Being aware of the risk factors is the first step in prevention and the Heart Foundation’s screening is aimed at alerting persons to their risk factors and offering advice on healthy lifestyles.
Executive Director of the HFJ, Mrs. Deborah Chen in accepting the machine said “the Heart Foundation of Jamaica is very happy and appreciative of the donation of this echocardiogram machine. “Without places like the CHASE Fund, we would not be able to continue the model that we have now. Our rates are subsidised because of these donations. We will ensure that we maintain the equipment,” she said.
Under its Health portfolio, CHASE Fund invests 20 percent of its resources in infrastructure upgrades, acquiring modern equipment and technologies for hospitals, health centres and clinics and facilitating training of health care practitioners.