This country’s partnership with the World Pediatric Project (WPP), has again come in for high praises from Prime Minister, Hon. Dr. Ralph Gonsalves.
Speaking from Cabinet room during a press conference on 15th January, Prime Minister Gonsalves said that the WPP makes it possible for children and young people, from birth to twenty-one years, to have first world critical pediatric care, including complicated surgical interventions, at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH).
In special cases of particular complexities, which may require additional support facilities, the children are then taken to the United States of America, where the transportation and treatment are also free, the Prime Minister explained. “It is an absolutely incredible program, fully integrated into our health system” he added.
Prime Minister Gonsalves went on to explain that his Government has built an additional operating theatre at the MCMH for use exclusively by the WPP, who also assisted in equipping the facility. Furthermore, Dr. Gonsalves pointed out that the pediatric ward has been refurbished and modernised with funds from the Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), the European Union, the Mustique Charitable Trust and the WPP.
The Prime Minister further stated that under the WPP, people come to SVG from places like Suriname, Guyana, Barbados and all over the OECS for treatment which they get here free. So remarkable is this service, the Prime Minister said, that the OECS has declared the MCMH and SVG to be the center of excellence for pediatric care in the OECS.
The WPP started its operations in SVG in 2002. According to statistics, he explained, since that time they have performed 9,726 evaluations and conducted 1139 surgical evaluations for children and young people from across the region. Of those figures, SVG accounts for 6,640 of the evaluations and 853 surgical procedures. Further, 346 children have gone to the United States for advanced surgical procedures, 169 of whom are from SVG. “In the US, you cannot get this service unless you get proper insurance, here you get it for free” the Prime Minister said.
Over thirty Personnel of the Executive Board of the World Pediatric Project, including the International and local personnel, are in SVG for several important meetings.