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Health minister: Swine flu crisis in south Trinidad

By Ralph Banwarie, Trinidad Guardian

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(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) — Health Min­is­ter Ter­rence Deyals­ingh says there is a cri­sis in the out­break of H1N1 or swine flu in Trinidad es­pe­cial­ly in the south­ern part of the coun­try where there have been three re­port­ed deaths.

Deyals­ingh made this dis­clo­sure to the me­dia af­ter the of­fi­cial open­ing of the San­gre Grande En­hanced Health Cen­tre at Ojoe Road, San­gre Grande yes­ter­day.

The Min­is­ter of Health con­firmed that three deaths have been record­ed as a re­sult of H1N1 and not­ed there are many more lab-con­firmed cas­es.

He ad­vised the pop­u­la­tion of Trinidad and To­ba­go to get the in­fluen­za vac­cine as it is be­ing of­fered at the na­tion’s health in­sti­tu­tions free of charge.

He said some peo­ple are lack­adaisi­cal as they nev­er seem to seek the in­ter­est of their own health.

Deyals­ingh made an ap­peal to all present to en­cour­age mem­bers of their fam­i­ly and com­mu­ni­ty to take the flu shot be­fore its too late. He said in 24 hours some­one hav­ing the virus can die.

The Min­is­ter of Health has been ap­peal­ing to the pop­u­la­tion to get the vac­cine but he says his pleas have fall­en on deaf ears.

He re­called the Min­is­ter of Works urg­ing mo­torists to have their ve­hi­cles in­spect­ed be­fore the end of the five-month mora­to­ri­um, but they did not ad­here to his call and this re­sult­ed in a last-minute rush and chaos at the in­spec­tion cen­tres over the last few weeks.

He says it is the same with H1N1 vac­cine with three re­port­ed deaths, peo­ple are now flood­ing the health in­sti­tu­tions to get the vac­cine.

He said in Tabaquite, where one per­son died from the H1N1 virus, Se­nior Nurse Eleanor John-Nicholas re­port­ed that there was a mad rush for the vac­cines and the health cen­tre in that re­gion was forced to open yes­ter­day to meet the de­mand.

The cen­tre usu­al­ly ad­min­is­ters 20 vac­cines per day but this has now risen to over 100 per day and in­creas­ing rapid­ly.

Deyals­ingh said in his first year in of­fice there were eight cas­es of H1N1, none in the fol­low­ing two years, but there is al­ready a surge in 2019.

Deyals­ingh said health of­fi­cials are fo­cused on preg­nant pa­tients and want to as­sure them that the vac­cines are safe.

He said they have made a con­cert­ed ef­fort at their an­te­na­tal clin­ics to have preg­nant pa­tients ac­cept the vac­cine. Cur­rent­ly close to 2,000 preg­nant women have been im­mu­nised.

Ac­cord­ing to Deyals­ingh three women who were not vac­ci­nat­ed al­most died, two have sur­vived and one is be­ing treat­ed at Mt Hope hos­pi­tal.

Deyals­ingh gave the as­sur­ance that the vac­cine is safe for preg­nant pa­tients and their foe­tus at any stage.

He said the most chal­lenges they faced is from the poor peo­ple who don’t seek good health care be­cause they are fight­ing to sur­vive.

The Min­is­ter of Health said he is afraid that if peo­ple don’t take care of their health and live good lifestyles then health in­sti­tu­tions will have to be built in every com­mu­ni­ty. He hopes that this will nev­er hap­pen and peo­ple will change their lifestyles.

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