At a time when the world is celebrating the birth of baby Jesus, child care in Trinidad and Tobago is at a crisis level because of the ineptitude of Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh.
There continues to be loss of precious young lives at public hospitals, management and treatment of patients is grossly inadequate resulting from insufficient funding and improper administration of the health sector.
The revelation a few days ago by the Registered Nurses Association of an acute shortage of Nursing professionals at the North-Central Regional Health Authority with one out of three positions vacant, again resonates the critical state of the beleaguered Health Sector.
In fact, there are major Nursing shortages at each of the Five Regional Health Authorities, resulting in the absence of the requisite minimum staff-to-patients ratio, with serious deterioration of patient care.
That urgent and serious state of affairs exists even though approximately 1,300 qualified Nurses remained unemployed and who are anxious to contribute to improving the health care in Trinidad and Tobago.
More than 600 Doctors are also on the breadline.
The Minister has never substantiated his baseless allegation that many doctors are refusing jobs in rural communities even months after being challenged in Parliament to do so.
The health of citizens is being seriously compromised due to the deliberate under-employment of medical professionals and the Minister’s indifference to patient care.
The 18 neo-natal deaths recently are directly attributable to a combination of shortage of medical professionals, lack of essential human, financial and infrastructure resources.
Mr. Deyalsingh’s recent haughty boast of zero maternal mortality is untimely, unscientific, ill-advised, uneducated and unprofessional and designed to hoodwink the population.
International medical guidelines indicate that maternal mortality is the number of deaths related to pregnancies on per 100,000 pregnancies. In Trinidad and Tobago, there are approximately 17,000 births per year, so one year alone cannot be an extrapolation in that determination.
In his typical flippant and arrogant manner, the minister has failed to substantiate any of his claims on neonatal and infant mortality from any National or International statistical information.
The crisis in child care exemplifies the critical and perilous state of the public health sector under the woefully incompetent Mr. Deyalsingh, who is still to present an implementable national medical plan.
This Rowley led Government made several promises for the Health Sector. To date they are fumbling and bumbling while hundreds of patient lives are being carelessly lost. They never had a plan. They wanted the Welch Report which took two years. It has come and gone with no implementation. For Couva Hospital they echoed gross untruths , saying they do not have enough Nurses and Doctors to run it. Which has proved to be a politically vicious lie. Then they waiting on the Welch Report, then a PPP model, and now after three years and three months, a colossal failure and filled with Political spite and vindictiveness to the detriment of loss of patients lives.
Another medical emergency exists as a result of the absence of elective surgeries following the closure of the Central Block of Port of Spain General Hospital.
The number of emergency surgeries has also been dramatically reduced, jeopardising the lives of many patients.
Patients are being transferred to the overcrowded Eric Williams Medical Sciences Hospital or are reassigned to St. James Health Centre, which has minimal resources.
Similar crises pervade the entire public health sector, with daily tales of woe by patients who endure the effects of lack of resources, overcrowding and other endemic problems.
The Couva Children’s Hospital, which could have eased much of the health crisis, remains a political football by the failed Rowley regime and its egotistical Health Minister.
The hare-brained decision to hand the modern billion-dollar facility to the University of the West Indies will remain a stillborn move, because the Faculty of Medical Science has had no prior history of this needed competence.
Under the useless and bungling Mr. Deyalsingh, Trinidad and Tobago’s public health sector has rapidly declined, to the point of increased neonatal, infant and adult mortality and a mountain of issues that imperil the lives of everyone who seeks medical care.
As a first step to improving patient care, the Prime Minister should urgently relieve the ineffective, incompetent, haughty Mr. Deyalsingh of his crucial portfolio, and be immediately replaced by an experienced skilled and competent Health Care Professional determined to care for the lives of infants, children, and citizens nationally.