Ri-Ri’s gift of love
BARBADIANS WILL soon be able to benefit directly from the successes of Grammy Award-winning singer Rihanna.
This follows the donation from the Clara Lionel Foundation, named for her grandparents, the late Clara and Lionel Brathwaite, of three pieces of equipment to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) worth more than $3.5 million.
The presentation was made yesterday outside the radiotherapy department, which was renamed The Clara Brathwaite Centre For Oncology And Nuclear Medicine.
Speaking on behalf of the family, the 24-year-old Rihanna said the Clara Lionel Foundation was committed to donating the pieces of equipment. She thanked QEH chief executive officer Dr Dexter James and his staff for facilitating the donation and dedicating the department in her grandmother’s memory.
“This was my way of giving back to Barbados in a form of philanthropy, by assisting the QEH in its continued modernization programme . . . . I believe that this will have a huge impact on the people of Barbados. This was all done to save lives or at least extend it. I thank you all for being a part of it. Thank you. I’m really excited about it,” Rihanna said.
In thanking the superstar and her family for the donation, James said the Equinox External Beam Therapy System, valued at US$638 000, was purchased and should be shipped by mid-January and that the anticipated go-live date was early March next year.
The other two pieces, the Brachytherapy Treatment Planning System (US$638 000) and the Gamma Camera (US$350 000) would be delivered one year after the March instalment of the Equinox system, James said.
He said the three pieces of equipment would allow for faster turnaround times for set-up and treatments, and result in the reduction of backlogs.
Director of Medical Services David Callender said the equipment would put the centre in a much better position to offer the service the hospital was striving for across the board – timely and efficient delivery of treatment. He said the new machine would also “significantly” reduce downtime.
“With its automated set-up and other features, the overall time spent in the treatment room will be reduced, hence more patients can be treated on a daily basis. The long-term goal is to eliminate any waiting list for treatment, and this new machine will assist in achieving that goal,” Callender added.
The other two pieces of equipment for the treatment of gynaecological cancers and the early detection of abnormalities in the disease process would also help with the efficient delivery of services in the department.
Minister of Health Donville Inniss noted that the radiotherapy and nuclear medicine department had been severely challenged by a lack of equipment, supplies and staff for many years, and said the generous contribution would touch thousands of lives directly and indirectly.
“Our QEH will now be in a much better position to diagnose, treat and manage those who are afflicted by various forms of cancer. We cannot quantify your donation in dollars and cents alone. The tremendous impact upon the lives of so many Barbadians and their families is immeasurable,” Inniss said. (YB)