US Navy Ship at Woodridge Bay in Fond Cole
US Navy Ship at Woodridge Bay in Fond Cole

Dominica's President, His Excellency Charles Savarin right eye is probably much more comfortable having had an eye operation on Wednesday on the US Navy ship, Comfort.

"I have had one removed (teriguian or growth on the eyeball) in Cuba five years ago and I have always had the intention to remove the other one removed," said President Savarin just before the simple operation. "The first was removed from the right eye and I'll now have the second one removed from the left eye on board the ship."

President Savarin was among 10, 000 Dominicans who are expected to to receive free health care services from the US Navy Comfort Ship Mission which will on island from July 28 – August 5, 2015.

The mission will be operating from two medical sites; the Dominica Grammar School and the Roosevelt Douglas Primary School in Portsmouth. During the nine days of the ship being on island about 600 patients will be seen each day at both sites.

Speaking at the opening ceremony on July 28, 2015 at the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health Helen Royer stated that this mission comes at an opportune time for Dominica since many of the citizens are in need of specialized services especially in the areas of Urology, nephrology and diagnostic services.

According to the Minister of Health and Environment Dr Kenneth Darroux "This mission will go a long way in addressing the back clog of these services and more so these patients who have not been able to access some of them because of financial constraints."

Dr Darroux noted that the visit of the mission is timely as Dominica finds itself at the cross roads of health care services.

"At the crossroads but I can confidently say as the Minister of Health we have taken a number of steps in the right direction a few months away from the construction of a new $40 million hospital and increasing the cadre of local doctors and nurses receiving specialized training to serve this new hospital," he said. "I have been advised at least 100 surgical procedures have been scheduled to occur aboard the hospital ship having been assessed by both our local consultants and the team from the ship."

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit noted that though Dominica is a small country with limited resources the people demand the delivery of quality health care.

Skerrit stated this puts tremendous pressure on the resources of the State when nationals turn to government seeking support to undergo medical procedures that are not available locally.

"Therefore, your presence and activities here over the next nine days delivering urgently need health care services to Dominicans is for us not only an appreciated humanitarian gesture but an initiative that will help ease the pressure on your treasury," said Skerrit. "The site in which we are now meeting, the site which is our main referral hospital on island was constructed almost 60 years ago. Advances in health care delivery and management and the expectations of citizens demand that we take this hospital to the next level of development."

The services offered by the Comfort mission are: emergency medicine, paediatric surgery, ophthalmology, dermatology, surgery, women's health care specialists and much more.