Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 5th 2016 Contents news
OCTOBER 5-11, 2016
In the next two weeks, a pharmacist will
be placed at the Tobago Health Promotion
Clinic (THPC) to service the clinic s
The decision was taken during a meeting
at the office of the Secretary of Health and
Social Services Claudia Groome-Duke, which
was attended by chairman of the Tobago
Regional Health Authority Oswald Williams
and THPC nurse Margaret Wright.
Patients have been waiting for more than
two weeks for their medication after the
THPC workers were prevented from col-
lecting the medication in bulk for storage
at clinic and then distributing it to their
Instead, patients were required to go to
the Scarborough General Hospital to source
their medication. But many of them com-
plained that they feared their privacy would
be violated and refused to do this.
The new method was implemented after
hundreds of thousands of dollars in drugs
were allegedly stolen from the clinic.
It was agreed during the meeting, how-
ever, that the THPC staff b allowed to return
to their previous protocol. However, it was
also agreed that a more permanent measure
be taken, hence the decision to place a phar-
macist at the clinic.
Contacted on the matter by Tobago Today,
acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the
Tobago Regional Hospital Authority (TRHA),
Dr Nathaniel Duke, told Tobago Today "the
hospital is working out something to have
a pharmacist at the clinic soon."
He said the "lack of accountability" at
the clinic was what caused the hospital to
stop the practice.
Asked about the effect on HIV/AIDS
patients who did not take their medications
for so long, he remarked: "Patients, what
mystery patients are they talking about?
We do not know who these patients are, as
the clinic s number of patients vary all the
Questioned about the clinic s records,
which would have shown patient data, Duke
said accountability at the institution is "non-
existent or not robust enough." However,
he said it was "erroneous" to say that the
clinic s patients are without their medication,
as they have been accessing their medicine
at the Scarborough hospital s pharmacy and
those who did not want to do so visited
On the issue of dispensing medication,
Duke said, "Any medication dispensed in
the healthcare system must be provided by
a pharmacist and that is internationally
"The pharmacist is the one who will tell
the patient if what they are taking interacts
with another drug and patients are coun-
selled right away."
Pressed for information on whether coun-
selling took place at the pharmacy window
where drugs are dispensed, he said that has
been the practice for years.
Questioned further on the introduction
of the system which required THPC patients
to have their prescriptions filled at the hos-
pital instead of the clinic, the CEO said the
measure was implemented so that "patients
could be registered at the hospital and be
part of the system."
"That, along with the missing of hundreds
of thousands worth of antiretroviral drugs
...it cannot be business as usual at the clinic,"
He said the THPC s HIV management
practices allowed HIV/AIDS patients to be
"hush hush" and "the disease to move
"For years we have been trying to find
out what is fuelling the epidemic under-
ground ... and they are continuing to do
things the old way, which is increasing stig-
ma," he told Tobago Today.
"I want to work with everyone, people
just need to follow rules and regulations."
Tobago Today reached out to officials at
the clinic to address the issues raised by
Nurse Wright said the clinic kept records
dating back to when the clinic was started.
Reports, she said, were generated from that
data. The reports are prepared when due,
she said, by Dr Raymond Noel, the clinic s
Efforts to reach Noel were unsuccessful
as he is out of the country on vacation and
will return next week.
Members of the
Signal Hill's Dem
Boys pose with
Affairs and Sport
Huey Cadette after
after winning the
was hosted by the
division at the
Dem Boys was one
of the team's from
the Signal Hill
Police Youth Club.
OFFICE OF THE
Tobago-born economist and UWI lecturer
Dr Anthony Birchwood is advising Tobag-
onians to make preparations for the coming
of the Sandals resort.
He said the development is necessary given
the financial constraints in which the country
finds itself, as shown by the figures in last
week s budget.
Birchwood noted that the $2.354 billion
given to Tobago could only go so far in assisting
the island s economy.
When Finance Minister Colm Imbert pre-
sented the 2017 budget last Friday, he indicated
that the proposed Sandals resort will generate
$500 million annually and provide some 1500
jobs during the construction phase of its proj-
ect and 2000 when completed. He said con-
struction will start soon and, in the first
instance, will take two and a half years.
Both Imbert and Tobago House of Assembly
Chief Secretary also seemed to hint that the
project will be given approval, although con-
sultations with Tobagonians are still ongoing
and London has claimed and Government had
claimed Sandals was merely at proposal stage.
Commenting on the value of a Sandals
resort to Tobago s economy, Birchwood said:
"From an economic standpoint, Sandals pres-
ence is wonderful, as it would encourage other
investors and bring much needed foreign
exchange to this country."
According to Birchwood, the state of the
Tobago s tourism industry requires immediate
action to prevent further decline. He said in
light of this, Tobagonians should prepare
themselves now so that when construction
activity begins they will be ready.
"Tobago really needs an injection of direct
foreign investment and Sandals is providing
that. However, it is important for people in
the construction industry to prepare so that
they can fulfil the requirements for contracts
in the first phase of the project," he said.
He added, "What people need to know is
that they will be competing with national,
regional and international companies for con-
tracts through a procurement process and
their dealings must be above board."
Asked if small entrepreneurs will benefit
from the resort, James said they too must
prepare as it can be beneficial to them.
"Even the farmer must be ready to deliver
quality goods regularly and to such an extent
that they can be a major part of the supply
of food locally. Handicraft producers must
also think large scale to supply to the hotels,"
"The resort will increase the need for every-
thing on the island, from transportation to
food and services, but in order for Tobagonians
to take advantage of this they must fully pre-
The idea of the Sandals resort setting up
shop in Tobago was first introduced by Prime
Minister Dr Keith Rowley.
The first round of consultations in Tobago
have taken place on the project and so far
businessmen are on board, but environmen-
talists and some fishermen have indicated
that the proposed site for the hotels, the Gold-
en Grove Estate -- which features No Man s
Land -- will negatively affect Tobago s envi-
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