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ODA to fly-in heart specialists

Date Posted: 1999-04-10

Children with serious heart problems will no longer need to travel to the mainland for treatment, the Okinawa Development Agency (ODA) announced recently.

As part of a new regulation to overcome the time it takes to transfer patients to the mainland for medical attention and related medical costs, the ODA said heart specialists are to be flown from the mainland to Okinawa. Presently, children with heart disease receive treatment at Chubu Prefectural Hospital, although in serious cases where local doctors are unable to treat them, patients are transferred to specialists on the mainland.

Agency officials said the new system of dispatching doctors to Okinawa will ensure patients are treated quicker and reduce travel and treatment costs for patients and their families. Specialists' travel expenses and fees will be covered by the national budget.

Meanwhile, Kyodo News reports Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiromu Nonaka, who concurrently serves as head of the Okinawa Development Agency, will make a two-day visit to Okinawa this week for the first time as chief of the agency.

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