To date, the health ministry has distributed 48,411 flu vaccines, and the health minister is once again appealing to the population—especially those in the vulnerable and high risk groups—to get vaccinated.
Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh laments the fact that the anti-vaccsers lobby is having so much success at preventing people from taking care of their health—to the point where the anti-vaccsers are not only dominating social media, but showing up in Parliament.
“When this anti-vaccine discussion reaches the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago, you know we have a serious problem,” Minister Deyalsingh says, “because the statements made in the Parliament were reckless, unfounded, unsubstantiated, and dangerous to public health. Why they would say that? I don’t know what the motivation was,” he states.
He adds: “Trinidad and Tobago’s reputation has now been tarnished by that statement. I now have to work overtime to overcome that unfortunate statement.”
The health ministry says 37 confirmed deaths have occurred in the current flu season, thus far. The health minister is appealing to the public to forget the anti-vaccsers and get their flu shots.
He warns that the population will be at further risk, as the country gets ready to welcome international visitors for the carnival season.
“They are also going to bring with the viruses circulating in North America, in England and in Europe,” he warns. “If the population does not heed my call and get vaccinated to protect themselves—and this is where some personal responsibility comes in—we are going to have more deaths. We are going to have many more deaths than 37.”
New initiatives in 2020
And the health minister points to several major initiatives which government intends to activate in 2020.
There is the opening of several major health institutions across the country—including the Point Fortin, Arima and Couva hospitals—as well as work on the Central Block of the Port of Spain General Hospital and the Sangre Grande Hospital.
In addition, the minister says they intend to change the way cancer is treated in T&T, by creating “a comprehensive, umbrella, integrated plan, to reduce the stress on patients who have to go to different parts of the country for different treatment types.
Minister Deyalsingh also told us the ministry will be working to make it easier for those needing multiple medications to manage their health issues, by introducing Monotherapy to the population. Monotherapy is the treatment of a disease with a single drug.
According to the health minister, among the primary beneficiaries of this policy move are senior citizens, dealing with diabetes and hypertension.
“What we are going to be moving the country to, hopefully by the first quarter of this year, is monotherapy,” he states. “One pill for diabetes; one pill for hypertension. And we are re-jigging our National Formulary right now, so it will be much easier for our diabetic and hypertensive population to confirm with their doctors' orders.”
Story by NEWS DESK