Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner (third from left) examines equipment and supplies donated to the QEH by Barbadian Diaspora in the UK with Director of Medical Services, Dr. Delores Lewis (left, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, NULL, NULL, 0);?? Deputy High Commissioner to London, Donville Johnson??and Director of Nursing Services, Bernadette Harris (right). (J. Gill/BGIS)

Fourteen walkers and 100 glucometers were today donated to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) from Barbadians living in the United Kingdom (UK).

The equipment and supplies were handed over to Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner by Deputy High Commissioner to London, Donville Johnson, who noted they were from two Barbadian organisations – the Health and Welfare Committee, which functions out of the UK Mission, and the Democratic League of Women.

"They gave consideration to the fact that the statistics are showing that there is a growing number of diabetics in Barbados and the organisations do believe that with the supply of a number of the glucometers, people would be able, at the primary level, to monitor their blood sugar and keep that under control, of course with the assistance of their doctors and health care providers," Mr. Johnson said.

Explaining that the organisations in England were very dedicated to the Barbadian community, he added: ??"I believe we have to get a stronger structure in place and have more focused relationships between some of the organisations there and some here." And, Mr. Johnson acknowledged, that over time several organisations here had benefited from contributions, with some schools receiving, various items including, computers and books.

"Even on this trip I have brought in over 2,000 books and will be distributing them to various organisations. So on the whole, the Mission in London is trying to ensure that the name of Barbados is always kept focused before the eyes of not only the Barbadians born here, but their offspring. The Mission believes that there is a need to ensure connectivity between the second and third generations…"

The Deputy High Commissioner to London mentioned that there were ongoing efforts in London to compile a database of professional Barbadians in the medical field and other disciplines, as there was a willingness to make similar contributions. And, he contended that the presentation represented a pledge that while he was serving in the post "the hospital would not be forgotten".?? He stated that "this was only the beginning of a series of activities that should happen between the Mission, members of the Diaspora in London and the QEH."

In accepting the donations on behalf of the QEH, Sandiford-Garner said she was pleased that Barbadians living in the UK were aware of "where their umbilical cords are buried" and "where their hearts are" in remembering the QEH.?? Extending thanks to Mr. Johnson and the organisations overseas, on behalf of the Government of Barbados, Senator Sandiford-Garner pointed out that it was not the first donation of its kind to the hospital.

She stressed: "I think it comes at a time when the institution most needs the assistance and we have to be frank here and understand these are times like no other. And, whatever assistance that we can glean from the Diaspora, I am very passionate and interested in ensuring that we gain that assistance."

In response to Mr. Johnson on the issue of a formalised process for donation, the Parliamentary Secretary declared: "The QEH Trust is well on its way to being established and we are now in the process of meeting with the Commissioners. I understand that the Trustees have been identified, so it is now a situation where we move towards formalising that arrangement and the Government would then realise its ambition of garnering support from the Diaspora in a formalised fashion and, specifically, for the QEH".

Senator Sandiford-Garner also made reference to the Appropriation Debate to highlight the importance of benevolent organisations. She explained: "The QEH was given a $145 million vote this year. When you do the arithmetic it works out to approximately $12 million plus per month. When last I checked the wage bill alone for the QEH, it was $9 million.?? When you work out the purchasing of supplies, equipment and other items you realise the remainder is not much to work with, so, therefore, when we have these types of initiatives from Barbadians overseas and Barbadians at home, we welcome the gesture."

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