Consultant Ophthalmologist, Dr. Hazel Shillingford-Ricketts, is calling for a greater allocation of funds for eye care in Dominica following the donation of brand new equipment by a Chinese Ophthalmology team at the end of their mission here.
The equipment is worth some $1-million.
Dominica recently benefited from the 10-person Chinese Ophthalmology Team who performed free surgeries on some 75 cataract patients from across the island.
Speaking at a ceremony marking the end of the mission, Dr. Shillingford-Ricketts said the donated equipment will greatly enhance the Eye Care Clinic at the Princess Margaret Hospital but money is needed to maintain them.
“They are more costly to maintain and require a greater allocation of funds to the Eye Clinic, Mr. Minister, if we are to continue using them in patient care,” she stated. “Per patient, the consumables are going to cost us US$300 per patient. So every patient we are going to use this machine on, we’ve got to get the consumables at the cost of US$300.”
She pointed out that all of the donated equipment is new.
“The equipment donated are all new and they are from well known reputable companies with support both in the Caribbean and north America,” she noted, adding that her colleagues in the region also use the same type of equipment and they could be sourced for technical support.
“So we do not have to go right back to China,” she pointed out.
Shillingford-Ricketts said that the Chinese mission was a success.
“The mission was a great success,” she said, pointing out that the team was competent in their performance of surgical, nursing and technical skills.
Meantime Minister for Health, Julius Timothy, who also addressed the ceremony, said that over the last 10 years China has assisted Dominica in various areas.
“Among these are the Dominica State House, the Dominica State College (DSC), housing apartments at Bath Estate and Elmshall, the new Newtown Primary school, the 4th phase of the Windsor park sports stadium technical Cooperation maintenance project as well as the supplementary engineering works at the E.O Leblanc highway from Roseau to Portsmouth and this include bus shelters,” he pointed out.
Other areas of cooperation, according to Timothy, include the installation of the Chinese Agricultural Mission at One Mile in Portsmouth, the reconstruction of the agricultural demonstration centre in that same area, the Kalinago Territory Housing project, as well as the third phase of the Chinese medical cooperation at the Princess Margaret Hospital.
“But of course the gem which we are anxiously waiting on is the commencement of the construction of the new state of the art hospital early next year with finance and expertise from the government of the People’s Republic of China,” he said, adding “Presently the designs are well on the way.”