TEN medical professionals from China have begun work at the San Fernando General Hospital. They officially began two weeks ago.
The partnership between Trinidad and Tobago and China was initially discussed during a visit by China’s President Xi Jinping in 2013. Under a Memoranda of Understanding, Trinidad and Tobago will have the services of the nine consultants and one nurse for a period of two years, with a new team rotating every six months.
The team arrived on August 7. It comprises two neurosurgeons, an anaesthesiologist, vascular surgeon, vascular ultrasound technician, interventional cardiologist, general surgeon, pneumonologist and a neurologist and an operating room nurse.
David Constant, director of the Ministry of Health’s International Corporation Desk, said the ministry was only paying for the team’s accommodation and transportation.
The members are being paid by their Chinese employers to work in this country. If Government had to pay their salaries, they would spend at least US $60,000 monthly he said.
Constant said although the team is based at the southern hospital, there will be national benefits.
Earlier this year, Constant said a delegation from the Chinese government and Xuanwu Hospital in Beijing, China visited the board of directors at North West Regional Health Authority (NWRHA), North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA) and the South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA).
All members of the team are from Xuanwu Hospital which places a high emphasis on neurosurgery and neurology, Constant said.
He said those RHAs were selected because they were the ones with teaching institutions.
The SWRHA was selected because it indicated the need for neurosurgery and the development of the practice at the San Fernando General Hospital.
Constant said: “They (the team) will be hosting clinics in some of the other RHAs as well. When they are doing their lectures and seminars, health professionals in the other RHAs would be invited, so even though they are based in South West (Regional Health Authority), there will be national benefit.”
He said: “When they leave after six months, good things would have been put in place so that the quality of our health care would be improved. That is the main goal of the Corporation.”
Each RHA had different clinical needs, Constant said, and it was not yet decided which area would receive attention when the next team arrives in six months.