The national football programme on Wednesday received a major boost following a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) and and the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI).
Under the MOU, the UHWI will provide a range of medical services for players in the national programme. This was revealed at a Press Conference at the JFF Headquarters in Kingston.
Under the agreement that was spearheaded by JFF director of marketing and business development, Sophia Harris-Lau, the UHWI will provide 140 MRIs, 120 CT Scans, 60 plain X-Rays, and 100 ECGs as well as ambulance services to the JFF. However, the ambulance services will be restricted to the Kingston Metropolitan Area. The value of the services offered is just under US$80,000 or J$10 million.
Kevin Allen, CEO of the UHWI, said the agreement is part of the hospital’s social responsibility in giving back to the country and its people. “We want to be at the forefront to get Jamaica back on track in terms of the next World Cup in 2022 in Doha, Qatar. So the UHWI wants to play a pivotal role, front and centre,” he said, adding that the hospital has plans to eventually add rehabilitation services to the deal.
Allen also revealed that the UHWI has also digitized its services which will make it easier to communicate with the personnel who treat Jamaica’s players based overseas.
“We have the experts, we have the equipment and in the case of any unfortunate situation, those players that we expect to come onboard from overseas, we will be able to send the information to their doctors, their clubs at the click of a button so that they can help with the management and care of the player.”
Dr Guyan Arscott, chairman of the JFF Medical Committee, said services available under the MOU will help restore confidence in the federation’s ability to assist players in times of medical need.
“There is no sport that generates as much interest, that reaches out, particularly to the underserved in any country than football. The JFF has about 13 groups both female and males, from Under 13 right up to our senior teams. These groups have been in the trenches training and getting good coaching,” Dr Arscott said.
“We have physiotherapists and doctors but a quandary is that sometimes there is no confidence in what we can do if something should happen that requires more detailed medical examination, imaging and investigation and there is no institution that is better equipped to carry out some of these than the UHWI,” Dr Arscott said.
He explained that the sport’s world governing body FIFA has made many of the expensive and intricate tests mandatory, and with many of the 13 groups involved in international duties, the MOU has come at a very opportune time for the JFF.