Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 16th 2016 Contents A7
Saturday, January 16, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
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Health Minister Ter-
rence Deyalsingh yes-
terday took a jab at for-
mer prime minister
who, at a press confer-
ence earlier this week,
had complained that
salt ought not to be
placed on the VAT list.
Speaking at the open-
ing of two new wards at
the Eric Williams Med-
ical Sciences Complex,
Mt Hope, Deyalsingh
said salt resulted in high
blood pressure, which in
turn resulted in other
Holding up a bag of
cheese sticks, the min-
ister urged that this was
an unhealthy snack for
children, adding that the
daily intake of salt for
an adult was five
"This is what you
need to live a healthy
life. If you don't cook
Health Minister on Kamla's salt talk:
'If you don't cook with salt you eh go dead'
with salt you eh go dead.
And de whiter de bread
de faster you will dead.
"So when we talk
about VAT on salt if you
eliminate salt from your
diet and that of your
children you will lead a
healthier life," Deyalsingh
The ministry was also
expected to roll out its
Diseases (NCD) policy
within the next two to
"We are going to wage
an intellectual war on
salt, sugar, fats and ask-
ing people to exercise,"
the minister added.
But despite encour-
agement to decrease its
salt intake the popula-
tion simply refused to
listen, Deyalsingh said.
On the issue of out-
standing arrears to
health workers he said
this would be done at
the end of fiscal 2016.
He said the workers
fell under the public
sector and this entity
was owed some $1.7 bil-
"The mechanism for
raising the money to
pay those arrears is via
the commercial banks
by either borrowings or
raising of bonds.
with the commercial
banking sector started
on December 11 last year
and we are going quite
well," Deyalsingh said.
Regarding the exact
date when the monies
would be paid he said
no fixed date could be
given but it "would be
Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh (right), along with Dr Rodney Ramroop, Medical Chief of Staff, CEO of the
NCRHA, look at two beds at the newly opened Ward 18 at the Mt Hope Hospital, yesterday. PHOTO: MARCUS GONZALES
To date the number of confirmed cases of
H1N1 stands at 67. A week ago the figure was
46. The number of deaths remains at five.
Deyalsingh again urged all at-risk groups,
especially pregnant women, to get vaccinated as
the country recorded some 10,000 pregnancies
He said over the past week the ministry
received 8,000 vaccines from Belize, 500 from St
Lucia and 37,500 from the Pan American Health
"We have more than enough vaccines to
vaccinate everyone in the at-risk groups,"
INCREASE H1N1 CASES
Even as former health minister Dr Fuad
Khan is insisting there is a shortage of
drugs in the country, Health Minister
Terrence Deyalsingh is maintaining that
the Government is feverishly working to
combat the "small pockets of shortages"
that exist, adding that there is no shortage
of life-saving drugs.
Deyalsingh made the comment yesterday
when he opened two wards at the Eric
Williams Medical Sciences Complex. He
said the cost was under $10 million.
Khan had previously warned that the
country was on the verge of a medical
crisis, with hospitals at a stage where they
could soon run out of critical medication
"The procurement of pharmaceuticals
which led to a shortage represented a per-
fect storm of stupidity by both the Ministry
of Health and the Central Bank prior to
September of 2015," Deyalsingh said.
"Prior to the misguided approach of the
Central Back to intervene in the allocation
of foreign exchange we had very little prob-
lems with drug manufacturers accessing
Accusing Khan of playing politics with
health, Deyalsingh said the former minister
went against all advice and gave the
Regional Health Authorities the green light
to purchase drugs and also mandated
NIPDEC to purchase drugs month-to-
month rather than yearly.
"He (Khan) did that in an effort to
replace a brand new health services com-
pany, the National Health Services Com-
pany to replace NIPDEC to purchase drugs.
"Another act of sheer folly which would
have had a startup cost of $8 million,"
He added that coupled with this was
the foreign exchange crisis.
"Then to compound the folly, NIPDEC,
which went ahead and purchased drugs
under the last administration on their
month-to-month contract, suddenly had
an epiphany that after September 7 they
were not going to purchase drugs on a
month-to-contract," Deyalsingh said.
He said he then had no choice but to
get the Finance Minister involved and have
him call NIPDEC, which reports to that
minister, to recommence the procurement
of drugs under the month-to-month
"So you had that delay which would
have caused shortages. In the interim we
engaged the local distributors to literally
lend us pharmaceuticals from their supplies
which were targeted to the private sector,
give it to us in the public sector and when
the public sector drugs come in we will
simply replace it," Deyalsingh said.
He said while this was done there were
still some pockets of shortages which were
In officially opening Wards 18 and 20
Deyalsingh said this was in a bid to tackle
overcrowding and insufficient bed space.
Fuad playing politics with health---Deyalsingh
The new wards were opened using
existing hospital space. Ward 18 is an
Adult Admitting Ward which will
serve as a holding bay and filter clinic,
facilitating patients who are to be
warded on both the Adult Medical
and Adult Surgical Wards and are
waiting to be placed in beds.
Ward 20 is an extension of the
Adult Medical Ward 4 and would
accommodate the overflow of
patients who belong to that ward.
The new wards will bring the total
bed space at the facility to 450.
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