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Local surgeon urges Bahamas to tap potential in medical research

Nassau eye specialist Dr John Rodgers calls for more medical schools and research centres to draw student talent from the US to The Bahamas. The surgeon suggests there is potential for the jurisdiction to develop long-term relationships in the medical profession that will benefit the country socioeconomically in the future. 

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TheBahamasInvestor.com
Friday, July 22, 2011
Friday, July 22, 2011

The Bahamas should focus on developing medical schools and research centres in order to capitalize on lucrative opportunities in medical tourism, according to a leading local doctor.

Eye surgeon Dr John Rodgers, who has been involved in medical tourism for over 20 years, says The Bahamas needs to start following the lead of other countries in the Caribbean that are benefitting from an influx of medical students from abroad.

“Medical schools in the Caribbean are at the forefront of medical tourism,” he says. “Schools are oversubscribed in the US, so there is an overflow from the States to the Caribbean. There are these avenues open to us that we are not taking advantage of.”


In 2009 Ross University, based in Dominica, opened a campus in Freeport, Grand Bahama, but The Bahamas has yet to establish its own independent medical school.

Dr Rodgers, who offers a high-tech laser eye procedure that is currently unavailable in the US at his clinic in Nassau, says opening such a facility would pave the way for long-term economic growth.

“When you provide that sort of service and you treat the visiting students well, it creates a bond between the student and the country; a social bond with economic repercussions. The student brings money into the country and the service also provides income for the local hospitals. Medical schools boost the entire economy.”

According to the surgeon, the establishment of schools would also open the door to important clinical research, further boosting the profile of The Bahamas.

“Once you have the schools, the research and a decent university, that is when you would get different industries coming here. Clinical trials are a huge business in themselves,” he says. “There is a wealth of clinical material in the hospitals here.”

cboal@dupuch.com

Newly elected president of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation, Winston Rolle, says the restructured organization's goal is to enhance its services. The inaugural board was elected last month.

Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival (FLIFF) is heading to Grand Bahama in October this year. Tourism officials hope that the event will give greater exposure to the island and generate future revenue from the film industry.

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