Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has announced that a helicopter pad will be among features to be added to the new state of the art National Hospital which is being constructed by the Government of China.
Speaking at a signing ceremony of a $120-million Economic and Technical Agreement with China on Monday morning, he said the pad will be part of the second phase of the construction of the facility.
Some of the funds from the agreement will go towards the construction of the hospital.
“The second phase will include, among other things, a helicopter pad that will be able to pick up patients at the hospital and transfer these patients to a hospital overseas…,” he said. “The challenge we have is that we would have to transfer patients to Douglas-Charles sometimes or Canefield and some patients are not able to drive any distance and, therefore, we will have this helicopter pad.”
He said when his government broke ground for the new hospital, he articulated the vision for health care.
“I included some of these components and we are now getting the resources allocated to realizing those interventions,” he stated.
Furthermore, he stated that there will an increase in the water storage for the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) and solar-generated energy.
He went on to say that there are other components of the hospital the Ministry of Health will discuss with the Chinese government
He said that some of the consideration will be for the Government of China, in the interim, to provide Dominica with medical specialists in areas identified by the Ministry of Health.
“What we are seeking to do is with the construction of the hospital and the training of our medical practitioners is to eliminate or minimize the need for Dominicans to go overseas,” Skerrit revealed. “We will have it as an interim measure, the government of China providing us over an extensive period of time certain medical specialists here in Dominica. We will also have our medical doctors going to China to be exposed to more improved and advanced technology, so that when they come to Dominica they are in a better place, a better position with added knowledge to pass on to our patients.”
He said his government also wants to introduce to Dominica traditional Chinese medicine.
The US$40-million China-funded project forms part of the four-pillar projects agreed to in 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.