Children’s Hospital for SVG
January 21, 2005

Children’s Hospital for SVG

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves showed deep emotions Tuesday as he relived the sad moment when he had to watch his young child’s life expire.

The Prime Minister was at the time informing reporters about the construction of a proposed International Hospital for Children.{{more}}

“I am the principal fund-raiser in this venture, for the State, the private sector. And I must say openly, as I always say about these things, I have a personal passion about it. Not only because of my love for children but, I have a son who died very young,” Dr. Gonsalves said.

The Prime Minister, voice dropping and eyes becoming red and moist, further stated: “It is a very painful thing to see little children die. And I saw it before my eyes. So, I have that, in a sense, as part of a project. It’s part involving the government, but it’s more than the government.”

Dr. Gonsalves said we do not have a tertiary health care system here and his government has allocated $1.7 million in the 2005 Budget estimates for the purchase of the Windsor School building, located near the Botanic Gardens, for the construction of the health facility.

“The idea is to build an International Hospital for Children at that site. But, to do it with such excellence that it will serve the Eastern Caribbean, including Barbados,” Dr. Gonsalves said.

The Prime Minister said the Rotary Club and American doctors, particularly from the State of Virginia, will be involved in the project. He noted that children had gone to Virginia for very serious medical operations.

He said the idea is to have a hospital of excellence here and have the doctors come down. He also said the idea is to raise enough money throughout the region to set up a trust fund so that the hospital, which will take care of children up to age 16, can be funded in perpetuity out of that particular fund.

“If you have a facility which could take care of one-third of your population, children under the age of 16, it’s going to be fantastic. And you do it for the rest of the region, too. And another part of the region specializes in certain other kinds of tertiary care – whether it is open-heart surgery or neuro-surgery or something else – we can therefore more easily help one another,” Dr. Gonsalves stated.

The Prime Minister further said there was not only a question of resources, but there would also be the question of the number of patients with a particular medical condition.

“If you set up a unit, for instance, to deal with neuro-surgery, how many patients you are going to have requiring neuro-surgery in any one particular year? You are not going to be able to justify it – if even you had the money,” he stated.