Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh is attempting to disguise and confuse the facts about deaths of newborn babies, in what is another indicator of the national medical crisis.
Mr. Deyalsingh has not provided official statistics, claiming instead that there has been a “slight uptick” at two public hospitals.
The reasons he advanced typify the misinformation and linguistic gymnastics for which he has become infamous during his failed three-year tenure.
The Minister’s attempted sleight of hand in this life-and-death matter is coupled with other glaring examples of mismanagement of the troubled public health sector.
There are daily huge backlogs of patients at Accident & Emergency and major ward overcrowding at San Fernando General Hospital, while the Government continues to refuse to put the $2 billion Couva Children’s Hospital to public use, because of pettiness and political spite.
Critically-ill patients are being made to wait along the corridors of the San Fernando hospital for up to three days, some crying in pain.
The Government’s latest hare-brained plan for the Couva hospital is to hand it to the University of the West Indies, in lieu of a $200 million debt.
The university has no history of management of a medical facility.
Citizens, who are already under intense financial stress through measures introduced by the Rowley regime, will be asked to pay for services at the hospital.
While the state-of-the-art facility remains idle, patients continue to suffer at San Fernando and other public medical institutions.
Scores of patients of the capital city and North-West Trinidad are also in anguish as a result of the dislocation caused by the closure of the Central Block of Port of Spain General Hospital.
Patients are being reassigned to the St. James Medical Facility and other public health centres, which do not have the resources and capacity for secondary and tertiary health care.
The Minister has not addressed this crisis, which affects thousands of people requiring medical treatment.
The waiting list of patients awaiting surgeries is getting longer each day.
The pressure on the public health system will intensify with the imminent closure of Petrotrin’s Augustus Long Hospital.
The critical shortage of CDAP drugs, including essential chemotherapy pharmaceuticals, is also compounding the health crisis.
The unprecedented mass suffering of patients painfully indicates that the health sector has collapsed under the leadership of the inept Mr. Deyalsingh.
A visit to any public health facility reveals the torment of the masses who are made to wait inordinately long periods for medical attention or who are denied vital medications, examinations or care.
Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley should remove Mr. Deyalsingh as a first measure to urgently and radically improving the failed public health sector and saving the lives of thousands of suffering patients.
The Prime Minister should also publicly commit to introducing measures to dramatically improve the health sector in the fastest possible time.
Dr the Hon Tim Gopeesingh,
Member of Parliament, Caroni East,
(Former Minister of Education)