Sick Kids establishes telehealth partnership with Trinidad and Tobago

Toronto 16 May 2005The Hospital for Sick Children (Sick Kids) expands its global reach with the establishment of a telehealth site in Trinidad and Tobago. The telehealth link between Sick Kids and the University of the West Indies (UWI), launched today, will use videoconferencing technology to conduct real-time patient consultations between the two centres. Health care paediatric professionals from Mount Hope Hospital in Trinidad will use the UWI telehealth site to access specialists at Sick Kids for the purposes of patient consultations, education and research in order to strengthen paediatric health care services in Trinidad and Tobago.

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The telehealth partnership is a joint collaboration between Sick Kids, the Herbie Fund, the University of the West Indies, Mount Hope Hospital, Atlantic LNG Company, and the Ministry of Health, Government of Trinidad and Tobago. While ongoing funding will be provided by the Mont Hope Hospital, the Herbie Fund has provided funding to purchase telehealth equipment for the site in Trinidad, and Atlantic for Children, an Atlantic LNG-sponsored programme in Trinidad, is providing operational funding for three years.

"Sick Kids has a long-standing relationship with Trinidad and Tobago's health care sector. Paediatric fellows and residents from the region have trained at Sick Kids and have returned home to become health care leaders", stated Cathy Seguin, vice-president, Child Health Services at Sick Kids. "We continually strive to share in the exchange of clinical and educational best practices with our colleagues abroad in order to impact and strengthen paediatric care on an international scale."

Sick Kids also provides specialized care for children from Trinidad through the support of the Herbie Fund. To date, the fund has assisted over 50 children from Trinidad to receive specialized surgical treatment in areas of cardiology, neurosurgery, plastic surgery and urology. Through the telehealth link with Trinidad, Sick Kids will be able to increase its humanitarian outreach to children. This will enable Sick Kids to further support children requiring specialized surgical treatment through the Herbie Fund, and ensure that they have the appropriate post-operative and ongoing care available in their home country.

The Herbie Fund, established in 1979, is a charitable organisation that assists children from around the world to come to Sick Kids in order to receive medical treatment that is not available in their home country. Launched in 1996, the Telehealth Programme at Sick Kids began as a collaborative pilot project with Thunder Bay Regional Hospital and Health Sciences North. In 1998, the programme became a partner in the Northern Ontario Remote Telecommunications Health (NORTH) Network. The NORTH Network is now the largest telemedicine network in the country with more than 75 partner sites across northern and central Ontario. Currently, Sick Kids' Telehealth Programme links to over 65 communities from within the province of Ontario, across Canada and abroad.

Atlantic LNG Company of Trinidad and Tobago was formed in July 1995 to develop a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in the Caribbean. The venture was created by one local company NGC - National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago, with four international companies: BP, BG, Repsol and Cabot. Cabot's shareholding in Atlantic LNG has been acquired by Suez, formerly Tractebel. Each of the five partner companies in Atlantic LNG has expertise in activities associated with the production, transportation, marketing and distribution of LNG.

The Hospital for Sick Children, affiliated with the University of Toronto, is Canada's most research-intensive hospital and the largest centre dedicated to improving children's health in the country. Its mission is to provide the best in family-centred, compassionate care, to lead in scientific and clinical advancement, and to prepare the next generation of leaders in child health.


Leslie Versweyveld

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