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Sandals Foundation continues life-changing work in rural communities

Port Maria Hospital, Ocho Rios Health Clinic, and Women’s Centre of Jamaica Ocho Rios are the latest beneficiaries of Sandals Foundation’s commitment to community-based projects across Jamaica. The philanthropic arm of Sandals and Beaches Resorts last reopened the completely renovated Senior Medical Officer (SMO) Residence at Port Maria Hospital, a building that has been out of use for over 16 years.

Regional Director Fabia Lamm said the North East Regional Health Authority is extremely grateful for its partnership with Sandals Foundation as they continue to assist the region in providing quality health care to Jamaicans.

“This latest donation of the renovation and furnishing of the doctors quarters at Port Maria Hospital, as well as equipment for the Ocho Rios Health Centre, is a reflection of Sandals Foundation’s commitment and corporate social responsibility to assist the region in enhancing the public health care system in Jamaica,” a news release from the foundation stated.

The renovations, which came at a cost of almost $3.5 million, included the complete gutting of the residence, electrical work, plumbing, new ceilings, refurbished kitchen and bathrooms, grilling, construction of cupboards and the painting of the interior and exterior of the building.

The residence will make it possible for doctors, senior medical officers, volunteers and visiting doctors to stay overnight at the hospital where they can be on hand for emergencies and basic surgeries.

Last week as well, Sandals Foundation made a significant donation of medical equipment to the Ocho Rios Health Clinic, a facility that serves over 2,000 people annually. The donation of a suction machine, blood pressure units, digital thermometers, Fetal Doppler, X-ray view box among other equipment, came after an extensive Labour Day project at the clinic by volunteers from Sandals Ochi Beach Resort, Sandals Golf & Country Club, Sandals Royal Plantation, and Beaches Ocho Rios.

The volunteers painted the exterior of the clinic, power-washed the roof, and cleaned and cleared vegetation and termite-infested trees.

Sandals Foundation Executive Director Heidi Clarke said the renovation of the SMO residence and the donation of medical equipment to the clinic reaffirm the foundation’s commitment to supporting the delivery of health care across the region.

“Basic health care is a necessity of all humans and we are pleased as a foundation to be able to assist in the delivery of health services. The Port Maria Hospital and Ocho Rios Health Clinic both serve a large number of people in rural Jamaica, many of whom do not have the resources to travel any further to access these services, so we are excited to be able to provide the equipment needed to provide the services here,” Clarke said.

To date, Sandals Foundation has directly impacted more than 209,000 people through health initiatives across the region.

The Women’s Centre of Jamaica benefited from a much-needed donation of equipment to support its virtual CSEC programme. The equipment, which include eight laptops, a 55” smart TV and a projector, will also help adolescent mothers, who are at the CSEC level, to continue their preparation through virtual delivery.

Sandals Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organisation that was created to continue and to expand upon the philanthropic work that Sandals Resorts International has undertaken.

“It is the culmination of three decades of dedication to playing a meaningful role in the lives of the communities where we operate across the Caribbean,” the foundation explained.

The foundation funds projects in three core areas — education, community, and the environment. One hundred per cent of the money contributed by the general public to the Sandals Foundation go directly to programmes benefiting the Caribbean community.