Additional Equipment Donated through Proceeds from Sandals Foundation’s Historic Island Run Gives Babies in Antigua a Second Chance at Life

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

Additional Equipment Donated through Proceeds from Sandals Foundation’s Historic Island Run Gives Babies in Antigua a Second Chance at Life


ST JOHN’S, Antigua, April 5, 2024 – The Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, offering life-saving intervention and support for babies in Antigua and Barbuda, has received an additional boost in their equipment after a USD $25,000 donation from the Sandals Foundation, directly funded by proceeds from Island Run Antigua, 2023.

Services to babies born prematurely and at term but needing medical attention due to complications, will now be supported with the addition of a transport incubator, electrocardiogram, hearing screener, and infantometer to the Neonatal Department.

This follows the previously donated jaundice screening and blood gas analysis machines in October 2023.

For Dr. Shivon Belle-Jarvis, Consultant Paediatrician and Head of the Paediatric Department at the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre, this vital equipment will make a difference in the care provided to patients in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

“The transport incubator will provide the desired warm environment reducing heat loss as babies are transported from one location to another. Under this circumstance, one of the most challenging parts of critical care is to transfer the baby without exposing them to temperature gradients of the environment. This is achieved by transferring the baby in a transport incubator.”

The infantometer, Dr. Belle-Jarvis continued, is used for measuring the length of infants, which is a crucial part of monitoring their growth.

This equipment can be transferred to any area of the hospital with ease.

The Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre has been a longstanding beneficiary of the Sandals Foundation, a partnership Dr. Belle-Jarvis describes as ‘priceless’.

“The Sandals Foundation has been an integral part of the services we offer. While it is important to have human resources and knowledge, without the necessary equipment to optimise the care that we offer, we wouldn’t be where we are today,” Dr. Belle-Jarvis said.

“The care and support that the Sandals Foundation has offered has given us the opportunity to appropriately care for not only the most vulnerable in society, but the most promising in society; Together, we are giving children in Antigua and beyond her shores the best opportunity to fight for life,” she continued.

For Heidi Clarke, Executive Director at the Sandals Foundation, “This latest donation represents the continued commitment of the Sandals Foundation to support the sustainable development of the island’s healthcare services and strengthen paediatric health programmes that serve families in Antigua and Barbuda and beyond.”

In October 2023, the Sandals Foundation hosted Island Run Antigua, aimed at raising funds to support children’s health across the Caribbean. Proceeds from the historic run have also been invested into the Endowment Fund of SickKids Caribbean Initiative (SCI) – treating childhood cancers and serious blood disorders in six (6) islands.

The Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre, formerly Mount St. John’s Medical Centre, is the only acute care facility in Antigua that offers 24-hour emergency care for babies in need of critical care as well as those born prematurely.

Since 2016, the Sandals Foundation has donated two Comprehensive Infant Care Centres and other life-changing medical equipment including vital sign monitors, electronic scales, paediatric beds, hand-held pulse oximeters and cardiac monitors, benefitting almost 1000 children per year.

This year, the Sandals Foundation proudly commemorates its 15th anniversary, empowering the lives of over 1.5 million people across the Caribbean region through initiatives focused on education, community development, and environmental conservation.

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