by Linda Straker
Grenadians seeking cancer treatment at The Cancer Centre in Antigua will pay reduced fees because the Government of Grenada has formally signed an agreement with the operators of the centre, which provides for nationals of OECS countries to receive treatment at a subsidised cost.
Health Minister Nickolas Steele informed parliament on Friday that the recently signed agreement was agreed to by the OECS Heads of Government years ago. The facility, the brainchild of former Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer, was birthed in 2009 during a regional healthcare symposium.
Government officials back then expressed an interest in developing a partnership with the private sector to equip a cancer centre in Antigua with the latest oncology services and technical expertise.
“What it will do for our nationals seeking the use of the centre is that they will now have to pay only US$10,000 for the entire treatment, something that will [normally cost more] than US$20,000,” Steele told the house.
In an interview following the adjournment of parliament, Steele explained that he only recently learnt about the centre’s partnership with OECS States, and after taking a personal tour of the facility, he was pleased with what he saw, and believes that this will work in the best interest of the people.
“After I toured the facility, I did what had to be done and now our nationals can access cancer treatment in Antigua at reduced rates. This is a public-private venture involving the governments of the OECS,” he said.
Dominica is the only other sub-regional country that has signed on to the partnership.
Steele said that government must give the approval for someone to be provided with the reduced rate, and those who cannot afford the cost will be provided with assistance from government, once the necessary request is made.