The following is a tribute to the late Dr.Oscar Jordan by BU family member Dee Word. The BU household extends our sympathy to the family.
His family described him as ‘The Greatest’ and compared to Mohammed Ali, the man who is most associated with that title, he matches up very well. Very well, indeed.
Dr. Oscar Wendell Jordan G.C.M., F.R.C.P.E was an outstanding star not in the boxing ring but in academics, medicine and humanitarian service to Barbados and the region. He too won many awards for being the best.
It is important to chronicle men like him who are very much the unsung heroes of our small island providing excellent service in their chosen professions and establishing a legacy of hard-work, discipline and first-class scholarship that should be emulated by all those coming after.
Born in 1939 the young Jordan studied diligently and won entrance to the Lodge School where he went on to win the Island Scholarship and then progressed eventually to university to study medicine.
This is not an eulogy to Dr. Jordan but rather a brief recognition of his contribution to the growth and development of a young nation as an academically hard-charging individual who embraced his role as a leader in society and was focused in his role as Chairman of the Barbados Diabetes Foundation to guide and nurture an entire nation on good health and the avoidance of diabetic complications as if he was guiding any of his three children.
There is the biblical exhortation, “for everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more” and it can be said safely that Dr. Jordan embraced that and fulfilled it well.
As an internal medical specialist he was instrumental in the formation of The Barbados Diabetes Foundation in 2001. He was the chairman for many years until he resigned the post in 2016. And as a founding father of The Maria Holder Diabetes Centre for the Caribbean which opened in February, 2014 he will be forever noted in history’s pages as very instrumental in establishing a legacy towards: ‘[eradication] of excessive ill health and premature death due to diabetes through prevention, effective treatment and the search for cures’.
This is a significant institution and a very important thrust towards the future development for a nation such as Barbados which has been dismissively labeled ‘The Amputation Capital of the World’ because of the very high incidence of amputations per a 100,000 patient population. In 2014, that rate had moved from 14 previously to 936 cases per 1,000.
Perhaps directly related to those statistics, Barbados is also listed as the leader in morbidity and mortality rates in the region with respect to diabetes.
To further highlight the significance of this center to the continued healthy development of all Barbadians these facts are worth highlighting.
· Diabetes is the third leading cause of blindness on the island
· Major and minor lower limb amputations average almost 200 per year
· 40% of persons on dialysis had some kind of diabetic-related kidney disease,
· The average length of stay for a diabetic patient at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital was 17 days, whereas the overall average stay for non-diabetic patients is 6 1/2 days.
· Drugs dispensed for diabetes represented the third major group of drugs by the Barbados Drug Service
So in that context we herald the life and work of a Bajan boy who remembered his roots and led an effort to help Barbadians and others throughout the region overcome what is certainly a major threat to our quality of life.