Hanover native secures US$350,000 worth of medical equipment for CRH, Black River HospitalThursday, November 25, 2021
BY HOWARD CAMBPELL
DURING a recent trip to his native Hanover, Javion Blake kept up to speed with troubling developments at Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) in St James.
He was disturbed by reports of a shortage of key equipment and substandard working conditions.
Shortly after returning to Denver, Colorado, where he has lived for almost 10 years, Blake sought assistance from medical manufacturers to source equipment that would be donated to CRH and Black River Hospital in St Elizabeth, which faces similar challenges.
“These equipment are already donated to Project C.U.R.E. [the world's largest distributor of medical equipment] from medical manufacturers who have excess inventory at the end of the fiscal year, and so when I identified that there was a need – upon my most recent trip to Jamaica in July – I reached out to the team to learn more about what it would take to get some of the equipment to Jamaica. Due to an already established relationship with several of the internal decision-makers, the process flowed very quickly because they knew I am a trusted, reliable partner to raise the funds. An already proven track record of execution and honesty was an asset,” Blake told the Jamaica Observer West.
The equipment comprises hospital beds, baby incubators, bedside commodes, syringes, hoyer lifts, crutches and canes, wheelchairs, catheters and EKG electrodes. This medical cache is valued at US$350,000.
Blake says it will cost U$25,000 to ship the equipment to Jamaica. He has so far raised just over half that amount through events and private donations. Another fund-raiser is scheduled for November 29 at City Park Golf Course in Denver.
“Fund-raising the money needed to transport the devices is where the difficulty lies. Another area of difficulty is building the synergy between the Project C.U.R.E. partners and reliable partners on the ground in Jamaica. There has to be an establishment of trust and an open line of communication is essential,” Blake stressed.
The dire situation at CRH is also personal for Blake, who operates the Jus Chill International company in Denver. His cousin Donnette Gray-Morris was a nurse there for over 25 years; she died of COVID-19 in September.
Opened in 1974, the 10-storey, 400-bed hospital is the largest health facility in western Jamaica. It has faced multiple challenges in recent years, despite the Government launching a $3.5-billion rehabilitation project.
Because the main building has been inoperative for an extended period, some patients have had to wait beneath makeshift tents for treatment.
A graduate of the University of Montana, Blake started Jus Chill International in March 2020. Its prime product is breadfruit chips, sold throughout Colorado, the Pacific Northwest and the Midwest.