The first phase of the new national hospital being constructed by the Chinese, will be completed in May this year and upon completion, the much improved health facility will be renamed the Dominica China Friendship Hospital.
According to Chief Economic and Commercial Officer at the Chinese Embassy, Wang Quanhuo, the hospital project is the largest project undertaken by the Chinese in Dominica since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. He said due to the complexity of the project, it has to be divided into seven construction phases.
“The emergency building and the number one technology building in the first stage of the construction is planned to be handed over and to be used in May this year. The medical service and office conditions in the hospital will be more improved, ” Quanhuo said.
He said when the project is completed, it will provide Dominica with one of the most advanced hospitals in the region.
The Chinese official also revealed that in order to strengthen cooperation between China and Dominica in the area of medical health, the Dominica government has decided to rename the hospital the Dominica China Friendship Hospital, “which we are sure will become a permanent symbol of Dominica china friendship.”
Prime Minister Skerrit said in July 2016 that the government would be seeking suggestions from the public for a name for the new hospital which is being built on the site of the current Princess Margaret Hospital.
“We will be engaging the public on suggestions [as to] which distinguished Dominican or international figure we should rename this hospital [after] because I’m sure many of us have never met or may not have known Princess Margaret,” Skerrit said at a ceremony for the signing of Letters of Exchange between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica for the West Coast Road Post Erika Rehabilitation Project.
He said there are no problems with Princess Margaret “but I think that we have distinguished Dominicans who have assisted us in the area of health…I do not know yet, so we will hear from the public on that.”
He did not say what mechanisms would have been put in place to receive suggestions from the public.
Quanhuo said the second phase of the project will include the construction of the emergency helipad, renewable engineering system and the recyclable water supply system.
“At present, we are waiting for the Dominica government to submit the project proposal,” he stated.
Prime Minister Skerrit announced in January this year that the 1st phase of the project would have been handed over by April after the government took some time to do some changes to the design following Hurricane Maria. He said for the rest of the buildings outside of this first phase, the roof will be concreted.
The US$40-million China-funded project forms part of the four-pillar projects agreed to in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the governments of Dominica and the People’s Republic of China when the two countries established diplomatic relations in 2004.