Four doctors from Dominica have started an eight-week training course on cardiovascular imaging at the First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, Guangdong province.
The training, which started on Sept 4, follows the establishment of a cardiovascular imaging and telemedicine center at the Dominica-China Friendship Hospital in the Caribbean country in July.
The First Affiliated Hospital SYSU implemented the building of the center, which is equipped with cardiac ultrasound imaging and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging equipment.
"The project aims to promote the advancement of healthcare delivery at the Dominica-China Friendship Hospital, and build a team of competent physicians who are able to better serve the health and well-being of people in Dominica," said Xiao Haipeng, president of the First Affiliated Hospital SYSU.
China has sent medical teams to Dominica since 2009, with many members coming from the First Affiliated Hospital SYSU, he said.
Devi Shillingford from the emergency department of the Dominica-China Friendship Hospital, which is the largest public hospital in the country, said she expected to improve her imaging skills and to see how a different hospital operates.
Rachel Andrew from the cardiology department said: "It actually is going to be a tremendous improvement in our diagnostic capabilities. Many of the modalities that we are going to practice were not offered before."
Things like contrast cardiac MRI, transesophageal echocardiography and speckle tracking echocardiography are new to them.
"It's going to improve our ability to make a correct diagnosis, including using the cardiac MRI.Many people have had to travel overseas to get that done previously," she said.
The other two doctors taking up the training come from the internal medicine and radiology departments.
After they wrap up their trip, four more doctors from their hospital will join the training. Medical exchanges, including discussions of complicated cases, could still be carried out through telemedicine after the training, Xiao said.
Wu Dexi, a cardiologist at Xiao's hospital, spent three years in Dominica as a member of the Chinese medical team sent to the Caribbean country.
He twice voluntarily extended his stay there because, "I felt that many things had not been done as I had wished".
Wu helped establish Dominica's first cardiology department at the Dominica-China Friendship Hospital in 2021. The department has equipment such as ambulatory blood pressure monitors and temporary pacemakers.
He performed Dominica's first temporary cardiac pacemaker implantation on a 73-year-old woman soon after the department was launched.
Wu and radiologist Yang Peng, who is also from the First Affiliated Hospital SYSU, took Dominica's first contrast cardiac magnetic resonance imaging last month jointly with their local colleagues.
Wu also drafted Dominica's first thrombocytic procedure for acute ST-elevation myocardial infarction.
He treated about 5,000 outpatients in Dominica, which has a population of more than 70,000.
Improved treatment at the hospital also helped reduce some bills for patients, who might otherwise have needed to travel abroad for certain medical services, Wu said.
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