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Your support saves lives! The story of little Grace sums up the sustainable programs created by the foundation. If it had not been for the training, the donations we provided to St. Ann’s Bay Hospital and the dedication of Dr. Woodham-Auden, her outstanding team of doctors and nurses along Fabia Lamm, Regional Director, the outcome would not have been so joyous.

Taken from the Jamaica Gleaner:

Mandeville, Manchester:

There is no pain greater than that of a mother who thinks she may lose the precious life she was entrusted to bring into this world.
Shelly-Gaye Cuff endured much: having to fight for her own life and reserve strength enough to pray and fight for her baby’s survival.
But God showed up and granted the Cuffs a blessing in the form of doctors and nurses at the St Ann’s Bay Hospital.
“I was 26 weeks pregnant on Friday August 26 of this year (2016). I had just run a few errands and came home to prepare some light dinner. While there I felt a gush – I thought it was urine at first,” she explained.
She ‘Googled’ the normality or abnormality of what had just taken place and even sought the help of a friend who was a medical practitioner.
Soon after, Cuff went to her doctor’s office and yet again experienced another gush of fluid down her thighs. After an examination it was confirmed that she needed to go to the hospital because she was about to have the baby.
With shock and fear of the unknown in less than unfavourable conditions, the soon-to-be mom, with a ruptured membrane and a vulnerable baby, sought to push pass the worst.
“In the early morning of Wednesday, August 31, I started feeling contractions: I wasn’t dilating. I then developed a fever; I was hot then cold, shaking uncontrollably and I couldn’t breathe, my complexion had changed and at that point my body was becoming septic – my body was literally shutting down and I thought I was going to die – my family thought I was going to die.”
By then a doctor advised Cuff that an emergency C-section had to be done, but priority would be given to saving her life, as her baby could very well be dead as a result of an infection.
“When the baby came out she wasn’t breathing, they kept resuscitating her but it wasn’t until after 20 minutes that she gasped. A doctor told my husband that the baby was slowly deteriorating and it was highly unlikely that she would make it to morning.”
She continued, “My baby was there – just panting and the hospital had no ventilator to help her breathe. On September 2, she flat lined three times.”
When it felt it as though hope was diminishing, God reminded the Cuffs who He was and what He can do.
A call came in from the St Ann’s Bay Hospital enquiring if the baby they were told about in Mandeville still needed the ventilator, as a baby had just been discharged.
“JDF (Jamaica Defense Force) came and took the baby to St Ann’s Bay Hospital and the baby not only received the ventilator, but top-class care, I felt as though my baby was the only patient there.”
She continued, “Initially the doctors and nurses said the baby didn’t look promising: they said they were only instruments, it was all God’s doing. Every doctor on call came to the assistance of my baby; it was just a different experience, state-of-the-art care… I want to say thanks to St Ann’s Bay because they didn’t have to take her and to have spent such a great deal of time on her – 59 days – was awesome. I must thank Elaine Johnson-Kelly from NERHA (North Eastern Regional Health Authority) who pretty much opened her home to accommodate me for the period.”
Cuff said upon leaving the hospital, after being granted the go-ahead to take her baby home, she watched all the members of the medical team who knew and worked with her baby, cry.
“They called my baby ‘Miracle’ and ‘Grace’. I’m happy to know that in Jamaica there are still health practitioners who don’t deal with humans as statistics but as persons, amid the negativity around there is a beacon up there in St Ann.s Bay. I’m forever indebted to them for the care they gave to me and my baby.”
With a new found joy; 17-week-old Aaryn-Grace, the Cuffs have, for now, completed their happy home.
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Direct relief is a humanitarian aid organization, active in all 50 states and 70 countries, with a mission to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies. Direct relief’s work earns wide recognition from independent charity evaluators, including a 100% fundraising efficiency rating from Forbes, the no. 1 spot on charity navigator’s list of the “10 best charities everyone’s heard of,” and inclusion in fast company’s list of “the world’s most innovative nonprofits.”

Jamaica Information Service Article: Ministry of Health Receives Donation of US$2 Million Worth of Pharmaceuticals

Photo:Minister of Health, Hon Horace Dalley (2nd right) discusses some of the items donated by Issa Trust Foundation and Direct Relief with Permanent Secretary, Dr. Kevin Harvey (right), Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Marion Bullock DuCasse (centre), Chairman of the Issa Trust Foundation, Paul Issa (left) and CEO of the Issa Trust Foundation, Dianne Pollard (2nd left) during the handing over of US$2 million worth of pharmaceuticals held at the Kingston Public Hospital on Friday, January 15, 2016.
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Ernie Sandona (left), biomedical engineer and Issa Trust Foundation volunteer, demonstrates some of the modern features of the state-of-the art ECG machine to Dr Vincent Riley, cardiologist.

Ernie Sandona (left), biomedical engineer and Issa Trust Foundation volunteer, demonstrates some of the modern features of the state-of-the art ECG machine to Dr Vincent Riley, cardiologist.

Reported by the Jamaica Gleaner Friday | November 25, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Over the past two weeks, the Issa Trust Foundation – founded as the non-profit arm of Couples Resorts in 2005 – has donated a total of $10.3 million in equipment and supplies to hospitals in St Mary, St Ann and Portland as well as the Savanna-la-Mar Hospital. Twenty autoclaves (valued at $3.4 million), which are medical electronic equipment that sterilise surgical instruments under high temperature and high pressure, were part of the donation, as well as a new Welch Allyn ECG machine valued at $580,000. A crucial element of donations made by the Issa Trust Foundation is the provision of training and maintenance. Ernie Sandona, a biomedical engineer from Michigan, United States, was on hand to conduct a training session to approximately 30 attendees at the Annotto Bay Conference Centre. His training focused on the proper use and maintenance of the equipment to ensure longevity.   A shipment of new cribs, mattresses, IV poles and baby scales, all donated by Direct Relief, a valued partner of the Issa Trust Foundation, was made to the St Ann’s Bay Hospital with a value of $1.9 million.
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Reported by the Jamaica Gleaner Friday | April 22, 2016 | by Christopher Thomas

Director of the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA) Dr Ken Garfield Douglas (left) exchanges a warm handshake with Chairman of the Issa Trust Foundation Paul Issa, while President and Chief Executive Officer of the foundation Diane Pollard shares the moment. Occasion was handover of neonatal equipment to the hospital’s special-care unit.


The Issa Trust Foundation has given a commitment to the Savanna-la-Mar Public General Hospital in Westmoreland to fully outfit the facility’s neonatal unit as well as finance the training of staff to care for premature babies.

The commitment was given on Tuesday by Paul Issa, the chairman of the Issa Trust Foundation, during a brief launch ceremony on the grounds of the hospital. He also used the opportunity to outline additional plans by the organisation to improve health care at the hospital as well as at other facilities islandwide.

“I think we know that this hospital, along with every other hospital in Jamaica, has had some severe challenges, but we hope to be able to help you bridge the gap and address these issues,” Issa told stakeholders in his brief address. “We want to help you to improve the service that you offer to the community of western Jamaica.”

The neonatal unit has been equipped at a cost of J$24 million. Additional funds will be provided for the training of the staff to operate and maintain the facility. The foundation has also donated US$2,000 (J$244,460.50) worth of disposable equipment, which includes tubing and hypodermic needles, to the unit.

“The unit is based on the model of the special-care nursery we did at the St Ann’s Bay Hospital a few years ago, which has reduced infant mortality rates by 30 per cent,” said Issa. “We have replicated that here, and I think it is really going to change the quality of the neonatal health care at this hospital. We are going to be in an ongoing relationship, and we are very excited about it.”


Dr Alfred Dawes, the hospital’s senior medical officer, said the gift of the neonatal unit is a significant boost to the hospital’s capacity to provide high-quality services.

“This unit has really boosted the hospital’s efforts at providing care. Before that, we were not equipped to deal with premature babies, and so they had to be transferred,” said Dawes. “If they were unfortunate enough to be the ones who were not accepted by Cornwall Regional Hospital, then we would not be able to care for them and they would die.”

“With the commitment of the Issa Foundation, and the training programme and the increased staffing that we expect to get, once the nursery is up and running fully, then we should be able to provide top-class care for these premature babies,” added Dawes.

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From the Jamaica Gleaner | January 21, 2016 | Gladstone Taylor

The Issa Trust Foundation (ITF) handed over US$2million worth of pharmaceutical supplies recently during a ceremony held at the Henry Shaw Auditorium at the Kingston Public Hospital.

Among the items were IV fluids, antibiotics, medicine for non-communicable deseases, gloves gowns, and other items to assist in the quality of care provided.

Established in 2005 by Couples Resorts, the ITF focuses on health prevention, promotion, and education, as well as on the improvement of medical services in Jamaica.

The ITF continues its partnership, donating pharmaceuticals on a quarterly basis via air freight to minimise delays in delivery of critical medications.

The 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.
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November 18, 2015

Dear Board,

This has been a very busy year! Please see the latest press releases for your review.

November 13, 2015 – Issa Trust Foundation Gives Life-Saving Equipment To Hospitals

November 11, 2015 – Support The Health Care System! Lady Hall Urges Corporate Jamaica To Hop On Board

November 10, 2015 – Sav Hospital Gets Paediatric Gifts

October 13, 2015 – IssaTrust Foundation On A Mission

August 31, 2015 – Issa Trust Foundation Hosts Medical Clinics

Diane Pollard, President & CEO
Issa Trust Foundation
cell: 515-480-1683
Jamaica cell (when in country) 876-503-5903

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From the Jamaica Gleaner

Tuesday | November 10, 2015 | Adrian Frater

Paediatric care at the Savanna-la-Mar Public General Hospital in Westmoreland, got a major boost last week when the Issa Trust Foundation, in collaboration with US-based Heart to Heart Foundation, presented the institution with state-of-the art equipment valued at US$190,000.

The items donated included incubators, warmers for newborns, diagnostic equipment, operating lights and ventilators, among other much-needed equipment.

In expressing gratitude for the equipment, Dr Kerri Ann McKenzie, the hospital’s paediatrician, said the equipment, donated specifically to fully outfit a new Level 2 Special Care Nursery, will ensure advanced respiratory support of newborns.

“It will allow us to offer much better care, particularly to our newborns but also to the general department, ” said Dr McKenzie

Camile Lewin, acting chief executive officer at the hospital, expressed profound gratitude to the Issa Trust Foundation, saying the organisation had come to the institution’s assistance at a most opportune time.

“I want to express my deep appreciation to the Issa Trust Foundation for coming on board and assisting us where we’ve fallen short,” said Lewin, noting that while the hospital’s needs were great, the support they were getting was proving to be quite helpful.

Diane Pollard, president and chief executive officer, the Issa Trust Foundation, who was present for the hand over, assembling and installation of the equipment, expressed much delight at being able to assist the hospital.

“We’re excited at the opportunity to partner with the Western Regional Heath Authority and the hospital to bring acute neonate services to enhance what they already have,” said Pollard, whose team included technical experts, who assembled the equipment and advise senior staff on how to use them.

“We bring the equipment down, we make sure it is working,” Pollard said. “The foundation also paid for piped oxygen for the ward and, in January, we’re going to come back with our neonate specialist. We’re going to set up the ventilator and train staff to give these babies some comfort.”

The Issa Trust Foundation is a non-profit organisation created by Paul Issa’s Couples Resort to focus on supporting paediatric health initiatives. Heart to Heart is a US non-profit body that provides volunteers around the world and helps in disaster recoveries.

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Jamaica Gleaner
October 13, 2015

More than 1000 children received free medical and eye care during The Issa Trust Foundation Pediatric Medical Mission held over five days in the parishes of Hanover and Westmoreland from September 24 – 29.

The Paul Issa chaired foundation, has been supporting Jamaica’s children over the past 11 years through various support programmes. Issa is also deputy chairman of Couples Resorts.

“We ensure that the mediation prescribed is available in Jamaica and if a patient requires follow up this is also facilitated,” Diane Pollard, president and CEO of the non- profit group said, “We are proud of our medical mission because we ensure continuity.”

“We have developed a highly efficient process to provide pediatric medical care to as many children at the highest standard of care we can deliver,” Pollard added, noting that they offer everything except for operations; all of which would normally cost a child in the region of US$400, which can making a big difference in a child’s life.

The outreach team led by registered nurse Kerri Cooke and Dr Pat Brophy comprises of medical professionals, such as pediatric pharmacists, intensive care physicians, hematology-oncology consultants, general pediatricians, nephrologists, nurse midwife, pulmonologists, neonatologist, pediatric nurse practitioner, a pediatric nurse and respiratory therapist.

The procedure takes each child through registration, blood pressure check along with other preliminary examinations, doctors’ visit and then to the pharmacy if medication is prescribed. Each child is then examined by a dental hygienist, followed by eye examination and the provision of prescribed eye wear to one in every four children seen, through the support of the Lions Club of Michigan’s donation of over 2000 eyeglasses.

“It’s just an awesome feeling to be giving back, “said pharmacist Art Abrahams, who hails from Ohio City in the US and who is making his second trip to Jamaica with the mission, “From a health care professional’s perspective this sort of support is very important, because such things can easily be taken for granted, but to see firsthand, the need of others, many who cannot afford it and then contribute to make a difference is very rewarding.

According to the foundation, its mission is to provide a system of prevention, health promotion and education, community health improvement and other services to promote well-being and development for the people of Jamaica.


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Gleaner From August 13, 2015 Jamaica Gleaner

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), along with the Government of Jamaica and the Jamaica diaspora, recently hosted a five-week Camp Summer Plus programme in Jamaica. Participants were instructed in reading and mathematics and the arts. Careful thought was given to the medical, dietary, social behavioural and academic fortification of students.

The Issa Trust Foundation, chaired by Paul Issa, who is also the deputy chairman of Couples Resorts, facilitated medical clinics at Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College in Montego Bay, Cedar Grove Academy in St Catherine, and the College of Agriculture, Science and Education in Portland, from July 13-15.

Dr Jeff Segar led the team which gave 362 children a physical examination, basic blood tests, hearing and vision screening, pharmacy medications, when needed, and fluoride treatments. Eyeglasses were provided through a partnership with Michigan Lions Club to one in four of the children seen.

A questionnaire was developed to assist the team to identify risk factors for impaired learning, and also to assist in identifying potential future interventional measures designed to promote learning in this population. If parents had to pay out of their pockets for the medical care, eye examination and glasses, it would cost them approximately $75,000 each.
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October 21, 2014 05:01 ET

Issa Trust Foundation Joins the National #GivingTuesday Movement to Encourage Spending With a Purpose: Enriching Lives in Jamaica

DAVIE, FL–(Marketwired – Oct 21, 2014) – The Issa Trust Foundation has joined #GivingTuesday, a first of its kind effort that will harness the collective power of a unique blend of partners — charities, families, businesses and individuals — to transform how people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season. Taking place December 2, 2014 — the Tuesday after Thanksgiving — #GivingTuesday will harness the power of social media to create a national moment around the holidays dedicated to giving, similar to how Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become days that are, today, synonymous with holiday shopping.


This year, the Issa Trust Foundation will encourage supporters to participate in a series of ongoing activities leading up to the big day. Fans and followers will be prompted to post photos of themselves doing good deeds and asked to tag people who have provided them with a helping hand. The #OpenPalms hashtag will be used in the foundation’s efforts to digitally unite the helping hands that will surround this year’s showing of support.


Issa Trust Foundation President and CEO, Diane Pollard said, “#GivingTuesday is a new arena for us, but we are excited to leverage the power of this moment to give our cause even more global exposure. It’s quite amazing to see how social media engagement can garner so much support for the people of an island nation like Jamaica.”


“#GivingTuesday is a counter narrative to Black Friday and Cyber Monday because it reminds us that the spirit of the holiday giving season should be about community and not just consumerism,” said Kathy Calvin, CEO of the UN Foundation. “The most meaningful gift we can give our children, loved ones, friends and neighbors is the commitment to work together to help build a better world.”


On December 2, participants in this year’s #OpenPalms #GivingTuesday activities with the Issa Trust Foundation will be surprised with an uplifting message from the children of Jamaica.


About the Issa Trust Foundation


The Issa Trust Foundation was established in 2005 by Couples Resorts as a nonprofit organization. The mission of the Foundation is to provide a system of prevention, health promotion and education, community health improvement and other services to promote well-being and development for the people of Jamaica. Together, through educational and professional programs, we work with and advocate for families to provide a safe, nurturing and permanent home for children.


Visit them online to find out more and become a part of something truly special:


About #GivingTuesday


#GivingTuesday is a movement to celebrate and provide incentives to give. It will culminate with a global day of giving on December 2, 2014. This effort harnesses the collective power of a unique blend of partners — charities, families, businesses and individuals — to transform how people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season. #GivingTuesday will inspire people to take collaborative action to improve their local communities, give back in better, smarter ways to the charities and causes they celebrate and help create a better world. #GivingTuesday will harness the power of social media to create a global moment that is dedicated to giving around the world.


To learn more about #GivingTuesday participants and activities or to join the celebration of giving, please visit:



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