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KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Feb. 15, IWN – Between 2002 and this year, the World Paediatric Project (WWP) has provided EC$29.9 million in services to Vincentian children, through its medical missionsto this country.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves made the announcement on Tuesday, when he expressed “tremendous appreciation” for the work of the organisation, which provides worldwide paediatric surgical, diagnostic and preventative resources to heal critically ill children in developing countries

“I want to place on record my tremendous appreciation of, and support for, the World Paediatric Project, which comes here and which takes children from the rest of the OECS,” he told a press conference.

He said a WPP mission visits SVG for three or four weeks every year and he met with the team last week.

In 2011, there were 17 medical missions, and a similar number last year, he said.

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When the team visits St. Vincent and the Grenadines, it also provides healthcare to children from across the sub-region.

Between 2009 and 2013, St. Lucian children have received EC$4.6 million worth of service; St. Kitts and Nevis, $1 million since last year; Grenada, 7.9 million between 2009 and 2013; Antigua, $3.6 million between 2011 and 2012, Dominica $6.4 million from 2008 to June 2012, and Anguilla, $1.4 million from 2007 to 2012, Gonsalves said.

“I want to say this, we are subsidizing to other countries who come here. We don’t charge them anything. So, whatever services we provide in our hospital, is a contribution to Anguilla, Antigua, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, Nevis, Dominica.

“Obviously, if the numbers get very large or much larger than this, I would be required to raise [the matter of costs] with the various governments — because this is not the total cost. This is the cost provided by the medical people who come, not by our hospital service, which would be a significant number too,” he said.

He further said that SVG has built a facility with the support of the WPP.

Gonsalves also praised the nation’s healthcare system, saying there are very good public health, garbage collection,and water delivery systems.

Statistically, there is 100 per cent immunisation of children under 5 years old, and statistically zero maternal deaths, he said.

“All these are reflections of our public health and our very good primary health system through the hospital and also the 39 clinics.

“We have sound secondary health care system. But, post secondary and tertiary, we have problems. But, because of our size, we just can’t have all the specialities. We are 100,000 people,” he said.

Gonsalves said that in addition to the medical mission to provide support in post secondary and tertiary health care, the government has arrangements with countries and entities for sick Vincentians to seek medical attention overseas.

He noted that the WPP project deals with a set of paediatric services, including orthopaedic services for children.

“So, I want to thank them. It is incredible the work they do,” the Prime Minister said.

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