SEATTLE, Washington — Dominica, a small country in the Caribbean, has a population of about 72,000. Currently, general taxes are what finance healthcare services in Dominica. There are seven healthcare centers and 44 clinics around the country that provide primary healthcare at no cost.
9 Facts About Healthcare in Dominica
- Dominica spends equivalent to $418 per capita on healthcare. As of 2011, healthcare costs were 4.2% of the GDP. Those healthcare services are provided by the Ministry of Health. Also, as of 2017, there were 1.1 doctors per 1000 people in Dominica.
- There are five hospitals in Dominica. Four of these hospitals are government-owned, while the other one is privately owned. The Princess Margaret Hospital contains a small intensive care unit, and it is one of the hospitals that is equipped to deal with emergency situations. However, the other three, the Marigot hospital, Grand Bay hospital and Portsmouth hospital, are not.
- Dominicans generally have somewhat long lifespans. For men, life expectancy is 74.4 years, and for women, it’s 80.5 years. Therefore, the total average life expectancy is 77.4 years, exceeding the global average of 72 years. However, as of 2019, 30.9 infants died out of 1000 live births, which is a rate of about 3.29%.
- There are both primary and secondary healthcare services in Dominica. Primary healthcare services are provided by clinics, which operate in seven health districts. These clinics serve about 600 people each within a 5-mile radius of the district in which they are located. Princess Margaret Hospital provides secondary healthcare.
- Some individuals are exempt from charge for medical treatment. Poor and needy people, pregnant women, children younger than 17 years old and people who have infectious, contagious diseases that can spread through multiple ways (such as bodily contact, contact with bodily fluids, or breathing in the virus) are exempt from the charges that arise from medical care.
- The HIV/AIDS prevalence rate is 0.75%. That amounts to about 506 people out of a population of 72,293. Countries that have a prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS that exceed 1% are considered to have Generalized HIV Epidemics. Dominica is currently below that even though its rate is higher than places like the U.K. Most people who have HIV/AIDS are male, who make up 70% of those infected. About 95 adults and children are receiving antiretroviral therapy.
- The Citizenship By Investment program helps to rebuild medical buildings and infrastructure, as well as provide treatment abroad. After Hurricane Maria in 2017, the CBI program helped fund the rebuilding of six hospitals and three healthcare centers in Dominica. Similarly, the program also sponsored 16 children to receive treatment abroad in 2017-2018. The treatment was critical for the children to improve their health.
- The Order of St. John is an NGO project working to improve healthcare in over 40 countries, including Dominica. This international charity has over 300,000 volunteers and staff and provides multiple services such as healthcare, first aid and other methods of support. This organization, registered as an NGO in 1964, had an income of 1,441,325 pounds in 2018. Its mission is to help improve the health of people around the world, as well as alleviate worldwide sickness. Additionally, St. John works to provide volunteers with disaster preparedness training in Dominica in the case of tropical storms or other natural disasters. The organization accepts donations, 100% of which go to their programs.
- Another NGO, EACH, also works in Dominica to provide healthcare communication. EACH works to promote healthcare communication that is concentrated around patients. EACH also works to provide healthcare communication research, skills and tools. This means that they strive to ensure that patients worldwide receive specialized care with regard to autonomy and safer, efficient healthcare, as well as ensuring that patients are more likely to recover from diseases. EACH became a nonprofit and charity organization in 2014.
Many organizations and hospitals are working to provide effective healthcare in Dominica. The general public can help assist these organizations through donations or volunteering. Also, learning more about healthcare in Dominica, as well as in different countries around the world, can help one understand both the domestic and global situation of healthcare today.
– Ayesha Asad