A local doctor has proposed a plan for the development of medical and health tourism in Dominica, but there is still no government strategy, advocacy body or broader industry interest in the sector .
Dr. Emanuel Finn produced the blueprint, which recommends:
- Dominica is qualified to capitalize on this niche market of health and medical tourism.
- The island is to be marketed as a tourist destination for people seeking alternative and holistic health treatment. A local education campaign should also make all Dominicans aware that they have resources.
- The full development of this niche market is not going to happen easily and quickly. With good long-term planning, collaboration, commitment, political will, and strong and effective (less short-sighted) leadership, goals are much more likely to succeed.
- It is imperative that the government work closely with the hotel, non-profit companies, medical communities and other groups to devise a carefully planned long-term strategic action plan.
- Health and medical tourism is not very different from seaside, ecological or traditional tourism.
- The various government ministries, departments and NGOs including law enforcement, village councils, conservationists and others will have to play a vital role in the planning aspect of this segment of the industry. .
- For medical tourism, there are inherent ethical rules, codes of conduct, and practice guidelines and models.
- The medical community and ministries of health, among others, should explore and continue to study the medicinal values of the country’s natural resources such as sulfur springs, boiling lake, hot springs, waterfalls and tropical rainforests.
- The holistic healing powers of plants and herbs such as ‘bazalick’, ‘seimeicountrar, (teas)’, ‘zobie tobacco’ (jumbie tobacco) and others should be continuously promoted.
- Local doctors and healthcare workers will need to communicate with the patient’s doctors in their home country. This can easily be accomplished in real time via Facetime on cell phones.
- The government can use its foreign missions and official representatives to help market the health tourism plan. Dominican expatriates with business, marketing, medical, professional, and other backgrounds can work closely with these assignments to host speaking engagements at rotating clubs, conventions, banquets, and other high-profile, corporate-visible functions. abroad to exert pressure and publicize the project.
- Grants from the European Union and other international donor organizations should be sought for a pilot study to initiate this venture. The grant proposal should clearly indicate that the project is a true government, private-public-non-governmental organization partnership, with a high level of oversight and accountability.
- If modest, measurable financial and international health tourism publicity goals can be achieved in a decade or less, it will mean more money for local people and sustainable development for our home island economy.