Established in 2005, the Issa Trust Foundation focuses on health prevention, promotion, and education, as well as on the improvement of medical services in Jamaica.
Direct Relief’s collaboration with the Issa Trust Foundation began in 2015 with the delivery of essential respiratory medications, including 792 inhalers, oral corticosteroids, and sodium chloride for use with nebulizers. Diagnostic and respiratory supplies and equipment, such as infant and neonate blood pressure cuffs, a pulse oximeter, and a nebulizer compressor, were also included.
The supplies supported a medical mission team that, together with USAid and the Department of Education, treated 1,400 children with asthma.
The Issa Trust Foundation also works to reduce infant mortality by improving the capacity of the public health infrastructure to care for premature, low-weight, and very sick infants. In 2012, the Foundation selected St. Ann’s Bay Regional Hospital, located in northeastern Jamaica, as the first facility to support. Their comprehensive neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) upgrade program focuses on:
- providing and installing ventilators and other intensive care equipment
- hands-on training for medical providers including physicians, nurses, and midwives
- biomedical technical training for engineers and technicians to ensure proper maintenance and repair of equipment
Since the NICU program began at St. Ann Bay, perinatal mortality in the North East Regional Health Authority has fallen by approximately 30 percent. The success of the program has led to requests from the Ministry of Health, and hospitals across the island, to expand it to additional regions.
The Foundation also has relationships with hospitals across the country, many of which experience chronic shortages of medications and supplies. Direct Relief will continue to work with the Issa Foundation to help these facilities get the medical resources their patients need.