World Pediatric Project’s (WPP) diagnostic cardiology team successfully completed clinics in St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Thursday October 14th and Friday October 15th. The team, traveling for the first time since March 2020, evaluated 43 children at the Sion Hill Clinic, a new venue for WPP clinic.
Dr. William Moskowitz, Chief of Pediatric Cardiology for the University of Mississippi Medical Center and WPP volunteer, led the team and was excited to return to St. Vincent and the children awaiting care. “The patients we saw are a lot of follow up, congenital heart disease, some un-repaired, some repaired in the United States and requiring follow up. Some are newly identified with congenital heart disease which will be prioritized over the next year until they receive their intervention through an upcoming WPP team.”
WPP Executive Director for the Eastern Caribbean Lauren McIntosh said moving to Sion Hill Clinic due to limited capacity at Milton Cato Memorial Hospital in the wake of COVID-19 was a smooth transition. “The staff has been very accommodating and helpful.” Speaking of COVID-19 safety measures, McIntosh continued, “What we have done differently from previous years is schedule appointments for our patients in advance. This has helped us reach the most children we can while limiting the crowd so we can continue to physical and social distance as well as implement hand sanitization and wearing of masks.” She adds, “The change of location has gone well. Our families are always so grateful for the fact that we have a pediatric specialist on island and are happy to see Dr. Moskowitz.”
Dr. Shari-Ann Davis-Andrews, the local partner pediatrician, said that while COVID led to seeing fewer patients than they would have in previous years, the clinic was still a success for Vincentian families. “I am happy we can provide that kind of support for families with conditions we cannot manage locally.”
Dr. Davis-Andrews noted the most frequently asked question of both patients and parents was whether or not it was safe to take the COVID-19 vaccine with a pre-existing heart condition. “Yes, it’s safe. Patients with heart conditions are at greater risk of severe symptoms or death from COVID-19 than those without. The vaccine helps prevent those symptoms, especially among those with underlying health issues.
WPP will continue to meet the needs of our children with the Urology Team set for October 24, 2021 at the Sion Hill Clinic. Individuals interested in supporting the work of WPP can contact the local office at 784-451-2989.