With an eye to building a modern and resilient public health system, the Government of Dominica has commissioned a new MRI machine at the Dominica China Friendship Hospital.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a medical imaging technique used in radiology to form pictures of the anatomy and the physiological processes of the body. MRI scanners use strong magnetic fields, magnetic field gradients, and radio waves to generate images of the organs in the body.

Minister for Health, Wellness and New Health Investment, Hon. Dr. Irving McIntyre stated the new MRI machine will be part of the services offered by the secondary and tertiary level of the health care system.

He noted that with the introduction of the MRI services, diagnostic capabilities will be significantly improved and this will result in better patient outcome.

“The reality of having MRI services on island has many other benefits. We no longer have the expense of traveling to other countries for an MRI. Also the unnecessary cost of accommodation, transportation and just the mere inconvenience of having to leave your home for such services. This money will now be spent in Dominica. An MRI does not only give you a clearer and better picture to aid in the diagnosis but there is an added advantage of less radiation for our patients. Our endeavors to improve health care in Dominica will continue and no effort will be speared in doing so. This brings us to yet another service to soon be available on island at our Dominica China Friendship Hospital,” Dr. McIntyre stated.

The Health Minister then thanked the Government of the People’s Republic of China for the gift of the Dominica China Friendship Hospital and the equipment saying that the Government and people of Dominica “will forever be grateful”.

Chief Executive Officer of the DCFH, Dr. Dexter James stated that the DCFH is the only hospital in the OECS territories that owns and operates an MRI service in its public services.

“This means for patient care, access to early detection, access to early diagnostics, access to treatment for medical conditions such as brain tumors, traumatic brain injury, development anomalies, multiple sclerosis, strokes, dementia, infection, and other causes of headaches, access to studies for ankles, heart, breasts, joint, wrists and blood vessels. This facility will also significantly access to diagnostic studies for patients who seek care in both the public and private sectors who ordinarily would have had to travel overseas for these studies,” Dr. James explained.

Dr. James went on say that services will be offered to the public by mid-November as it will take time for staff to develop the required competency and speed in processing, as well as to be in a position to optimize the full  functionality of the machine ad expand services in more advanced studies.

“By mid-November, we will be ready to take patients. The arrangements will be by referrals and it will be done by appointments. Of course emergency patients will be treated as emergencies. So by mid-November we will be ready to roll out the service to now make it available to the private sector and of course to the inpatients as well,” Dr. James added.

Meanwhile, Hospital Medical Director, Dr. Ruby Blanc explained that over the past six to eight weeks, the activation of the machine has been completed by the engineers, which culminated with user application training of four radiographers last week.

“This training was conducted here at the hospital by a G.E’s Application Support Specialist. Our technologist have been exposed to conducting studies of the brain, spine, joints, abdomen and pelvis. As their knowledge and experience levels develop, we will expand the menu of studies to perform much more advanced and sophisticated studies,” Dr. Blanc noted.