The health sector in Grenada has received a much-needed boost through the donation of medical supplies from China.
The items including a number of beds, incubators, and stretchers were handed over to Health Minister Nicholas Steele and the person he succeeded, Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen, now Minister for Foreign Affairs by resident Chinese Ambassador, Madam Ou Boqian, during a brief ceremony last week Thursday on the compound of the Mt. Gay Mental Hospital, St. George.
In making the donation on behalf of her Government, Ambassador Boqian acknowledged the challenges faced by the health sector in both countries and also highlighted the importance of strengthening collaborations in order to provide improved services to their respective public.
“We all understand that public health is something that is very important to a country…we know this is a challenge to each of us (both countries). Imagine, in China we have a population of almost 1.5 billion and we have only 2.8 million doctors”, she said.
“That is to say that every 500 persons would have one (1) doctor working on them. So this is also a big challenge but still we need to join together to do something to face that challenge and try to provide even better service to our people,” she added.
In expressing gratitude for the donation, Health Minister Steele commended the Chinese government for “sharing what they have (with us) despite their (own) challenges.”
He noted that “despite the fact that China is also a developing country like us (Grenada), they have very much the same challenges that we do as a developing nation, but on top of that they have the challenge of scale and still despite of this they find it within their ways and means to give and assist us wherever possible”.
“This (donation) being a small gesture from China, in terms of the scale of their challenges is extremely beneficial and makes an extremely significant difference to us in our ability to deal with the challenges we have,” said Minister Steele.
Foreign Affairs Minister Modeste-Curwen used the occasion to mention some of the other ongoing collaborative efforts between the government of Grenada and China.
According to the female government minister, the areas of collaboration include “training for the development of our human resources (and) there is a lot going on in terms of assisting the Ministry of Agriculture to reach out to our farmers and …. other things.”
She said the dialogue is continuing and expressed hope to see a lot more happening between the two countries who resumed diplomatic relations in 2005.
The ruling New National Party (NNP) government broke off ties with Taiwan after the passage of hurricane Ivan in September 2004 in the face of a lucrative offer made by the Chinese on the Mainland.
The package from Beijing included the rebuilding of the cricket stadium at Queen’s Park and hundreds of low-cost housing for the poor.