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Amid the uncertainty of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, citizens in the Caribbean nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) began to face a new adversary on April 9, 2021: the first explosive eruption of La Soufrière volcano.
Displacing at least 20% of the main island’s residents, La Soufrière devastated the livelihoods of Vincentians and ravaged one-third of the island. A natural disaster visible from outer space, the impact was felt both near and far—ashfall descended upon St. Vincent and the Grenadines for days leading into weeks and blanketed islands as far away as Barbados, 100 miles to the east.
For a country that was just starting to administer vaccines and regain its footing from the pandemic, this natural disaster dealt a swift and widespread blow.
Public shelters were maxed to capacity, drinking water was contaminated with ashfall, and power outages were frequent. Basic medical care and supplies waned, with one of the island’s main hospitals in the evacuated red zone, placing greater strain on the other main hospital and local clinics.
Our 20+ year partner in pediatric health, St. Vincent & the Grenadines needed our help.
WORLD PEDIATRIC PROJECT IN ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES
MISSION: We heal critically ill children and build healthcare capacity in the world.
VISION: Every child, regardless of geography, will have access to quality critical care in order to live a full and productive life.
Long-term, consistent, and collaborative teamwork between medical professionals, healthcare systems, suppliers, government entities, and donors have delivered surgical and specialty care to children of SVG for more than 20 years.
Milton Cato Memorial Hospital in Kingstown, SVG, houses WPP’s dedicated operating room —equipped to host surgical procedures for children throughout the Eastern Caribbean, in 10+ medical specialties covered by WPP.
Extraordinary cooperation between member states of the Eastern Caribbean has enabled SVG to serve as WPP’s regional hub, with an average of 15 medical teams traveling to treat upwards of 1000 Caribbean children each year
Focus on providing medical services to children now, as well as providing advanced training and education, better serve children in the future. WPP also collaborates with the local medical school for further education.
WORLD PEDIATRIC PROJECT’S RESPONSE
THANKS TO YOUR SUPPORT, WORLD PEDIATRIC PROJECT WILL SUPPORT IN 3 KEY AREAS: RELIEF, RECOVERY & REBUILDING
- In working with the Ministry of Health and local and regional disaster management agencies, we identified the most critical and underserved needs. WPP procured essential healthcare supplies by calling upon long-standing existing medical supply partnerships.
- Uniquely positioned to leverage strong relationships with those medical supply and shipping partners, WPP was able to efficiently and cost-effectively transport supplies to the island—during a time where commercially doing so is wrought with hurdles and delays.
- Local staff have worked tirelessly to deliver these critical medical and personal hygiene supplies directly to WPP families and displaced families alike.
- Additionally, WPP is providing psycho-social health support for Vincentian women and children, working with local social workers and psychologists to deliver counseling and practical support to those most vulnerable.
- Due to the evacuation and interruption of care in the northern hospital nearest the volcano, the burden of care has increased significantly on Milton Cato Memorial Hospital in the southern capital of Kingstown. Ongoing support will continue to be provided to equip MCMH with the resources needed to address this intensified demand, particularly for the growing number of patients with compounding pulmonary complications due to the volcano’s environmental impact.
“To witness the panic and fear amongst our fellow Vincentians, especially the already-vulnerable WPP families, has been heart-breaking…yet to then to experience the hope, resilience and gratitude for the outpouring of support received… is well, awe-inspiring and humbling…”Lauren McIntosh, Executive Director, WPP Eastern Caribbean
World Pediatric Project is determined to resume the robust in-country programming to meet the growing demand of pediatric surgical & specialty care. In the next four months…
pediatric specialty medical teams will travel to St. Vincent & the Grenadines to deliver direct care.
evaluations & consultations will take place through these pediatric medical teams.
children will receive high-quality services by expert volunteer providers on the island of St. Vincent.
complex medical procedures will be completed in WPP’s OR at Milton Cato Memorial Hospital.
The overwhelmingly generous support you provided to assist World Pediatric Project’s Volcano Relief & Recovery efforts has been critical to facilitate this swift and compelling response.
We hope you will continue to follow and support the ongoing commitment of World Pediatric Project to deliver much-needed direct care and efforts to create long-term, locally sustainable solutions for quality pediatric healthcare in St. Vincent & the Grenadines.
WPP staff and volunteers throughout the Eastern Caribbean have worked overtime to provide both social and practical support to those most impacted. Led by Executive Director Lauren McIntosh and WPP staff members Jackie King, Sherri-Ann John, and Lovelyn Butcher, frontline representatives have navigated the complications of impacted air, sea, and road travel, delayed shipments, increased healthcare demand, all while dealing with the impact of the volcano on their own families and lives.
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Donate to WPP’s continuing efforts to support the children of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the Eastern Caribbean through our Every Child Counts Campaign.