The Government of Dominica through the Ministry of Health, Wellness and New Health Investment signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the World Paediatric Project (WPP) to strengthen and expand the delivery of surgical and diagnostic services at the Dominica China Friendship Hospital.
The Government of Dominica has made a commitment to provide financial support on an annual basis for the WPP organizational costs of providing paediatric diagnostic and surgical services to Dominican children as provided for in the investment programme. This commitment is at a cost of E.C eight three thousand, nine hundred and seventy dollars per annum.
The World Paediatric Project is a us non-profit organization, whose mission is to provide children from developing countries with access to advanced diagnostic and surgical paediatric specialty care.
Minister for Health, Wellness and New Health Investment, Hon Dr. Irving McIntyre says the signaling of this Memorandum of Understanding is evidence that government is committed to proper healthcare for all.
“It is a great day because though we have been receiving lots of assistance from the World Paediatric Project, when we can finally formalize our relationship with the signing of our MOU., it really means a lot to us. It shows the commitment that the WPP and the Government of Dominica have put together with 311 intervention taking place from since 2008 which is a significant number. And the cost associated with those interventions is very significant as well so just formalizing this commitment means a lot to us,” Dr. McIntyre stated.
Minister McIntyre thanked the organization for its continued support to Dominica.
“We really thank you from the Ministry of Health and the Government of dominica. We can only look forward to better things to come in health care in Dominica. So on behalf of the Government I really want to thank the team of the WPP and we can only look forward to a continuing relationship where we can actually build on it which will in turn help us to take care of our own which is the ultimate goal for us,” the Health Minister noted.
Chief Executive Officer of the Dominica China Friendship, Dr. Dexter James, outlined the purpose of the MOU.
“The signing of the MOU allows the WPP and the Government of Dominica to further enable the successful execution of WPP’s paediatric diagnostic and surgical missions to Dominica. Generally WPP is committed to coordinating annual visits to diagnostic and surgical paediatric teams to the hub in St. Vincent; provide training opportunities in paediatric diagnostics, surgical procedures and post-operative care for all islands; ensure that each team is comprised of the required number of professionals with appropriate paediatric credentialing and finally when resources allows review cases which are beyond the capacity of the short term visiting teams for acceptance into the US and International Referral Programme,” Dr. James explained.
A screening programme was held last week which was aimed at identifying children with spinal deformity who may require corrective surgery.
“X-rays were taken for review and assessment by the visiting World Paediatric medical team. Ladies and gentlemen i am pleased to report that this was the first diagnostic scoliosis clinic ever held in Dominica. This is yet another significant achievement by the Dominica China Friendship Hospital. The significance of this achievement was that over 25 children were screened by the orthopedic consultant from WPP and the most acute cases of spinal problems will be earmarked for surgery at a later date,” Dr. James noted.
Head of the Pediatric Department at the Dominica China Friendship Hospital, Dr. Cassandra Williams, says all pediatric services are offered free of charge to children below the age of eighteen.
“All paediatric care services are offered free of charge at the DCFH while funding for overseas care is facilitated by the National Health Insurance Programme which assumes 30 percent of the total cost,” Dr. Williams stated.
The World Paediatric Project has been in the Eastern Caribbean for the last 19 years and over three hundred and eleven children have benefitted under this programme which is valued at over us eleven point five million dollars. Ms. Lauren McIntosh is the Executive Director for the WPP Eastern Caribbean.
“We started getting referrals from Dominica in 2008. Subsequently to that, we had annual diagnostic cardiology clinics in Dominica and we have assisted with a lot of the care and the interventions. So for all of our cardiology cases which tend to be more complex, those are usually US referrals and sent to one of our US partner hospitals. This year alone I can identify, we’ve had two cardiac cases, one for open heart surgery which was sent to the Cayman Islands and another one who recently returned from Martinique for cardiac intervention. SO hats just some of the work that the WPP has been doing despite the challenges of the pandemic.
The MOU was signed on Saturday July 10, 2021 at the Dominica China Friendship Hospital conference room.