History in the making as SVG gets $10 million MRI Machine

Press release from the Agency for Public Information

An EC$10 million investment, by the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), in collaboration with the Barbados based Maria Holder Memorial Trust, has paved the way for the historic introduction of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) services here in SVG, at the Modern Medical and Diagnostic Complex (MMDC) in Georgetown, starting early 2023.

In the late evening hours of Sunday, December 18th,Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Ralph Gonsalves, alongwith Minister responsible for the Public Service, Hon. Frederick Stephenson, Minister of Health, Hon. St. Clair “Jimmy” Prince, and other government officials, journeyed to the MMDC to witness the arrival of the 30ft long MRI-Module, to house the MRI machine.

An elated Hon. St. Clair “Jimmy” Prince welcomed the timely Christmas gift to further expand the already wide range of services at the various tertiary and primary health care facilities across St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Vincentians are expected to benefit significantly from the introduction of improved access to quality health care, and at a reduced cost, when the final historic steps are taken to offer MRI services on home soil, the Health Minister noted. Because of the historic move, Prince said Vincentians would no longer have to travel to other countries in search of the service.

Meanwhile, commenting at length on the significance of the MRI-housing being delivered onsite at the MMDC on Sunday evening, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said the foresight of his Unity Labour Party (ULP) administration, to widen, reinforce and resurface the Byera tunnel, just one year after taking office in 2001, made it possible for heavy equipment such as the MRI – Module to be transported to Georgetown.

The Prime Minister lauded the Health Minister and officials in that ministry for the preparatory work done to secure the MRI equipment, including the technical and the necessary maintenance operations for the management of the MRI service. Gonsalves said while the Modern Medical and Diagnostic Complex (MMDC) – Georgetown was selected as the first site to MRI services in SVG, there would also be another MRI unit at the Acute Referral Hospital when the facility is constructed in Arnos Vale. That project estimated to cost some EC$220 million dollars is scheduled to begin in mid-2023 with should be completed sometime in 2026.

Dr. Gonsalves further emphasized the significant investments that are being made by government to consistently improve and expand the quality, and range of health care services in SVG, including geriatric care, especially given the fact that life expectancy among Vincentians has increased within recent times, resulting in an increasingly large elderly population in thiscountry. He said Budget 2023 has an allocation of $42 million for the Ministry of Health, of which significant sums would be directed to further advance training and development of even more Vincentians to pursue traditional and emerging fields of expertise in the field of health care delivery.

According to the Maria Holder Memorial Trust website, Swiss-born Maria made Barbados herhome from 1978 until her sudden and untimely death in February 2004. Her son Christopher Holder and son-in-Law Chesterfied Brewster later co-founded the Maria Holder Memorial Trust bearing her name.

Feature photo: RAI Health & Awareness Blog

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