The Ministry of Health has been hard at work under the leadership of new health minister, Dr. Kenneth Darroux to forge links that will bring better healthcare to Dominicans.
At a press conference last week, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Helen Royer revealed that memorandums of understanding have been signed with Dominica’s French neighbours.
Often, patients in need of urgent medical services which are not available in Dominica are airlifted to Guadeloupe or Martinique for care.
Often, that care is affected by small challenges. It is those challenges which Government is seeking to eliminate by signing agreements with these countries.
Royer discussed the new arrangement forged with Guadeloupe.
“We intend to see is assistance like specialist exchange visits,” she said.
The Permanent Secretary describes the extent of the agreement with Martinique.
“Persons were being referred for emergency care in Martinique and Guadeloupe and sometimes we had issues if [the French hospitals] did not receive the payment on time. So Government invested in ensuring that our Facility Manager visited Martinique. She has been there twice to speak on our behalf, meet with the agencies and make the relationship a bit [better] for persons needing care.
“We have seen improvement; they are now providing us with reduced rates and training for our staff. On Sunday [May 3] two of our ICU nurses left Dominica for Martinique to be trained in intensive care because of that MOU,”
This, Royer says, means immediate care for Dominicans in Martinique.
“If we have a case to be sent in, our Facility Manager can call them directly. She has all the addresses and knows exactly who to call and the delays which we experienced before is now limited,” Royer added.
Currently under review are two more MOUs- this time with the Governments of Venezuela and China.
The partnership with Venezuela is geared at eye care.
“They will be working together with our eye specialists. Persons will be reviewed and assessed by our Dominican counterparts and [the Venezuelans] will work closely with us to provide surgery for cataracts and glaucoma.
“We intend to embrace that idea because we realise that a lot of the conditions which we have in Dominica we do not have the capacity to deal with immediately.”