It appears that residents in Antigua and Barbuda will be taking full advantage of the medical services which will be made available on board the Chinese hospital ship the Daishan Dao (Ark Peace) that is expected to dock in the St. John’s Harbour next Monday.
Based on information from Health Minister Molwyn Joseph, 2,000 people have already registered through the Mount St. John’s Medical Centre for medical services on board the vessel.
This number does not include close to one thousand people approaching the Ministry of Health who have also expressed an interest in accessing specific services on the vessel.
“Approximately five of them have requested to see the ophthalmologist, 500 more will be evaluated for the purpose of their sight and others for gynaecological services,” the health minister said while speaking at a press conference to announced the pending arrival of the Ark Peace.
Minister Joseph said the vessel is coming at a time when there is a need for certain medical services in Antigua. He also stated that this shows the need for improvements in the delivery of public and private healthcare in the country.
“This to me is the greatest contribution that the government of China is making to the people of Antigua and Barbuda,” Joseph said.
The hospital ship is equipped with eight operating theatres, 300 hospital beds, 57 medical doctors, 27 nurses, 36 pharmacists, medical technicians, and maintenance engineers. The patient care includes 21 departments or specialities including gastroenterology, cardiovascular medicine, respiratory medicine, neurology, nephrology, general surgery, urinal surgery, orthopaedics, ophthalmology, gynaecology and obstetrics, dermatology and paediatrics among others.
Aside from out-patient surgeries, eyecare and gynaecology services, medical experts will also be available to provide basic life-support training of professionals, during their two-week stay in Antigua.
Chinese Ambassador Wan Xian Min, also told those who gathered at the Blue Waters Hotel on Monday, that residents on Barbuda will not be left out.
“The hospital ship will use its ambulance helicopters to fly medical staff to Barbuda to extend the services to people on the sister island with specific needs. The ship will also be sending a team to the Care Project to provide house care and cultural performance to the children there,” the ambassador said.
There is no cost for registration and no cost for those making use of the floating hospital’s facilities. The Ark Peace will be visiting the twin-island as a part of its Mission Harmony 2018.
Since 2008, it has visited 37 countries and provided free medical services for more than 180,000 people.