Five months following the resignation of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Dominica China Friendship Hospital (DCFH), Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has revealed that Dominica is receiving the assistance of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in finding a replacement for the Trinidadian national.
Dr. Dexter James, who held the position of CEO from the start of 2021, on a two-year contract, tendered his resignation from the health facility in July 2022. His contract should have ended and possibly been renewed on January 10, 2023, however, due to the resignation and earned vacation, James left the island at the end of September 2022.
Speaking on the subject, the prime minister made known that since this time, efforts have been made to recruit a new CEO, with the assistance of the United Nations organization which is in charge of international health cooperation in the Americas.
Skerrit also highlighted that the organization has also assisted by way of providing Dominica with several experts who will assist in ensuring that the country can have the equipment and the structures needed to provide optimal care to residents.
“They were here about a week and a half ago meeting with the minister of health and the hospital authority to discuss the approach and the plan, “ he said. “And I believe coming out of that, the hospital will be in a much better position to provide the kind of care that all of us would like to provide to our citizens.”
The prime minister also informed the media that, as in the past, his administration will continue to work with PAHO on the national health insurance scheme pilot programme.
Skerrit asserts that several people have already benefited from the program’s two components.
The prime minister added that his government has also decided to abolish the income tax criteria for those who have health insurance to give them a better opportunity to obtain health insurance as an additional means of support.
Given Dominica’s sparse population, the head of government emphasised that PAHO’s assistance is required to determine whether a new iteration of the country’s national health insurance programme can be implemented.
“Because there are always challenges with a small population size, like ours, such as what rates do you peg, how do you juxtapose against social security, etc? Or what kind of contribution will people make because you will have a situation where some can pay and some cannot pay. And the whole idea is that those who can’t will be supported by
those who can pay,” he explained.
Skerrit continued by saying he has also spoken with the prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, who launched a similar project a few years ago and is currently working to improve it.
He pointed out that among their discussion was on what kinds of studies they had conducted and what percentage of contributions would Dominicans need to make.
The Prime Minister continued by officially declaring his commitment to moving through with this project, as well as that of the ministries of health and finance.