Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 3rd 2016 Contents news
www.tobagotoday.co.tt AUGUST 3 - 9, 2016
Members of the public are being
asked continue to conserve water on
the island, as Tobago is not yet in the
Reports from the Water and Sewerage
Authority have indicated that all of the
island s catchment and storage areas are
operating at very low levels.
The call came from Chief Secretary Orville
London as he addressed water woes still
being experiences on the island at last week s
post-Executive Council media briefing.
"The Hillsborough Dam is still only oper-
ating at 50 per cent capacity with only
800,000 gallons per day. In Courland, the
situation there is very, very critical. The
information coming from WASA is that
Courland is operating at 7 per cent capacity,
130,000 gallons per day and Hillsborough
west 300,000 gallons per day and in fact
based on what is expected, what is consid-
ered to be the norm, they have indicated
that there is a 30 per cent capacity."
The warning comes as there are retracted
predictions of an extreme dry season for
The Meteorological Office declared an
early start of the rainy season on May 1 fol-
lowing an uncharacteristically early influence
from the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone
A release from the Met Office stated:
"Initial episode of rainfall activity triggered
by the ITCZ or a Tropical Wave, signals the
start of the country s rainy season. This
moist, unstable environment, along with
significantly enhanced upper level conditions
produced the much-welcomed early season
rainfall, over the 30-hour period. Preliminary
analysis indicates that for June to December,
most of Trinidad and Tobago is likely to be
wetter than usual."
The Water and Sewerage Authority
recently introduced an additional 1.03 million
gallons of water to the island s water network
through the integration of three new wells
at Mary s Hill, Pump Mill and Calder Hall.
These, however, will not be enough to meet
the water demands of the island.
London said plans are moving ahead to
have the much anticipated desalination plant
built at the Cove.
"We received 42 expressions of interests
for that project. This was narrowed to 11
and we are currently evaluating these com-
panies which were shortlisted."
He asked that people continue to conserve
water because the situation has not yet
returned to normalcy.
Aaliya Simon shows off her hula hoop dancing skills during Games We Used to Play at the Mason
Hall Recreation Grounds last week. The event was part of the Tobago Heritage Festival.
PHOTO: CASWELL GORDON
There are over 200 confirmed cases
of the Zika virus in T&T. Of this num-
ber, 60 have been diagnosed in women
who are pregnant.
Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh con-
firmed the figure last weekend, saying 59
cases of pregnant women had been recorded
in Trinidad and one in Tobago.
In seeking to reassure the infected people
that every possible measure was in place to
ensure they received the necessary treat-
ment, Deyalsingh maintained his confidence
in the specialist team assembled by the min-
istry to oversee the diagnosis and treatment
of pregnant people.
Asked to explain the disparity in the fig-
ures, he having announced last Friday that
he was aware of only two Zika cases in preg-
nant women locally, Deyalsingh said he only
received the official statistics early Sunday.
Pressed to say if the ultrasounds had
revealed any of the foetuses contracting
microcephaly as a result of the mother being
contracting Zika, Deyalsingh said, "So far,
there is no risk of microcephaly in any of
the cases we have seen."
This was later confirmed by Dr Karen
Sohan, Medical Chief of Staff, Mt Hope
Women s Hospital.
Microcephaly is a medical condition where
babies heads are abnormally small.
The specialist committee, which is led by
Sohan, was set up in April to develop specific
processes and procedures to respond to
patients diagnosed with Zika, paying special
attention to pregnant women and developing
foetuses. The committee is set to meet this
week to discuss how they can strengthen
Urging citizens to continue to ensure their
surroundings are free of any items that could
act as a possible breeding site to the Aedes
Aegypti mosquito, which spread the virus,
both Deyalsingh and Sohan agreed that the
public s response had been positive and had
helped in keeping the number of cases down.
The risk of more breeding sites increased
with the rainy season at the beginning of
However, Deyalsingh said, "While it has
been a good thing, the public needs to keep
up the pressure."
He said the ministry would also continue
its attack on various fronts, including con-
centrated efforts by the Insect Vector Control
Division to spray schools, homes and gov-
ernment buildings. Owners of vacant and
abandoned lots have been asked to make
an attempt to clean their premises.
Zika symptoms include a rash, fever, gen-
eralized pains and conjunctivitis.
Responding to questions on the issue,
Sohan endorsed the ministry s policy out-
lining the treatment of pregnant women.
"There is a national policy whereby any
woman who tests positive for Zika is referred
for Foetal Medicine Services at the Mt Hope
Women s Hospital."
Adding that this process involved patient
counselling as well as detailed ultrasounds
of the baby, Sohan said, "This has been
operational since the first case was diag-
nosed. Zika is a new pathology and therefore
as the numbers increase we would need to
fine tune the service."
Noting that only one baby had so far been
delivered of a mother diagnosed with Zika,
Sohan said, "That baby is normal so far. To
date, no babies have been born with micro-
cephaly secondary to Zika."
She added, "The most vulnerable time
for the pregnant patient appears to be the
period while the brain is developing. The
functioning cells of the brain are the neurons
and these appear to be most vulnerable at
less than ten weeks gestation. There still
appears to be a risk to the foetal brain
although reduced, from 10 to 16 weeks. The
virus has been shown to affect the growth
of the baby up to 28 weeks gestation."
Stressing that new information was
emerging daily about infection rates and
vulnerable populations, Sohan said it was
equally as important for all healthcare
providers and patients to be updated.
"When the patient is seen, her care is
individualised depending on the period of
gestation. Some patients will require only
one scan whereas others require more fre-
quent scans. At each visit, the ultrasound
findings are discussed with the patient as
well as a plan of management for the preg-
nancy," Sohan said.
"This information, including the detection
of abnormalities, is confidential, and involves
the patient and her healthcare providers."
Sohan said while she was aware that there
was also a policy for management of the
babies following delivery, she was unable
to comment as this was not her area of
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