The Ministry of Health and the Regional Health Authority (RHA) teams say they have already taken proactive steps to ensure that all emergency and essential medical services are available to the population in preparation for any significant health outcomes related to the passing of Tropical Storm Karen.
The ministry says that it should be noted that it has, at this time, received no serious health-related reports.
Additionally, all public hospitals remain open to provide emergency services and continued care to patients warded at these institutions.
In order to ensure that essential services are maintained and to guarantee the continuity of public health services, the following measures have been put in place:
· All emergency systems have been activated at all RHAs in Trinidad and Tobago namely:
- Eastern Regional Health Authority
- North Central Regional Health Authority
- North West Regional Health Authority
- South-West Regional Health Authority
- Tobago Regional Health Authority
o Back up/Redundant systems have been checked and are functional ( e.g. power, water)
o Emergency communication protocols are in place
o All emergency pharmaceutical supplies are available
o Preparations have been made to ensure staff welfare during extended work time, as required.
The Health Ministry says that nationally, there is a sufficient supply of blood, blood products as well as essential pharmaceutical and non- pharmaceutical consumables. Ambulance services have also been placed in a heightened emergency response state.
Members of the public are advised to take health precautions to secure their health, where required, and avoid the spread of flood related diseases:
· Where possible avoid contact with flood waters and other potentially contaminated water (e.g. streams, rivers and ponds). Do not play in flood waters.
· Consume only clean drinking water. Do not consume any water which may have come into contact with flood water.
· Consume only safe food. Do not consume any food which may have come into contact with flood water.
· Avoid contact with:
o carcasses of dead animals
o animal urine, especially if you have cuts or abrasions of the skin.
· Ensure that essential medications are secured in a water proof packaging/container as part of your emergency kit
Members of the public are also advised to use standard emergency contacts to get assistance and to monitor the news for flood updates as they may have to alter their routes to access the health institutions if required.