Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 3rd 2016 Contents A10 news
guardian.co.tt Saturday, December 3, 2016
account set up
to help Jamelia
Members of the public wanting to financially
donate to save the life of 13-year-old Jamelia Ju-
lien can now do so at First Citizens bank account
1304728 which has been set up by her mother
Jamelia is in need of a new heart and the opera-
tion costing approximately US $160,000 cannot be
After the teenager's plight was aired on CNC 3
news on Tuesday, Best said she was surprised that
so many strangers called, of-
fering emotional support and
But it was only late Thurs-
day that Best got the oppor-
tunity to open the account as
her daughter has been unwell
for the past week.
What started off as an or-
dinary flu might now be an
infection, Best said yesterday.
For the past five days Best
said she had not slept, too
worried about her daughter
"She has been fighting the
cold...coughing, not sleeping
and bringing up a lot of cold....And because of
her being unwell I myself have not slept ei-
"I think she now has an infection
because she has gotten this before,"
She said she was monitoring
her daughter's condition but
was expected to take her to
the Eric Williams Med-
ical Sciences Complex,
Mt Hope yesterday for
On Thursday, Best met
with Diego Martin coun-
cillor Kathy Ann Christo-
pher who was trying to get
Jamelia's case be urgently
placed on the Children's Life
In sourcing foreign hospitals
Best said one recommendation
was the Cayman Islands. She was
also expected to meet with a doctor
at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences
Complex, Mt Hope yesterday to work out
the finer details including the total cost of
"There are still some details to be worked out
like whether Jamelia would be placed on a waiting
list at a foreign hospital or how soon the operation
would be done once we have the funds available.
"I was supposed to meet with the doctor at Mt Hope
but her dad would have to go instead as Jamelia is not
well," Best added.
Five years ago the teenager began complaining of
chest pains and shortness of breath following which
it was determined she was suffering from restrictive
cardiomyopathy (RCM), a rare form of heart muscle
disease that is characterised by restrictive filling of
In this disease the contractile function (squeeze)
of the heart and wall thicknesses are usually normal,
but the relaxation or filling phase of the heart is very
When she sat the SEA exams she passed for Corpus
Christi College in Diego Martin but her uniforms are
unworn and remain neatly placed in the closet.
Anyone wishing to help Jamelia could call Best at
The Ministry of Health has reaffirmed its
commitment to the local fight against HIV/
Aids by signalling intentions to access fund-
ing set aside by the US Government through
the President's Emergency Plan For Aids Re-
lief (PEPFAR) to assist countries globally and
help save the lives of those suffering from the
Disclosing this during a press conference at the
Ministry of Health, Port-of-Spain, yesterday, Health
Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said what was required
had now transcended the ministry's reach.
He said it needed a national, holistic and concerted
effort by all stakeholders, hence its natural return to
the Office of the Prime Minister which spearheaded
the public drive on Thursday to educate and increase
awareness among the masses.
Revealing that T&T had signed onto the UN Aids
90-90-90 challenge to achieve certain goals by
2020, Deyalsingh said it included ensuring that 90
per cent of a country's population would know their
status by that date; of which 90 per cent should be
on anti-retroviral drugs if they are confirmed; and
90 per cent of this number should have their viral
load down to be considered HIV/Aids free.
Pledging to work with local and international
stakeholders to fund efforts, Deyalsingh said, "We
will need every dollar in the fight against HIV/Aids."
Commending the workers attached to the Queen's
Park Counselling Centre (QPCC), Deyalsingh said
the fight was kept alive by these dedicated persons
all through the year.
Deputy Director, HIV/Aids Coordinating Unit, Dr
Ayanna Sebro confirmed the QPCC's strategic goals
were aligned with the UN goals.
Adding that they had recorded a 15 per cent decline
in new cases, she said they were also aiming to re-
duce mother-to-child transmission and increase the
number of persons accessing anti-retroviral drugs.
With 11,500 persons confirmed to be living with
the virus in T&T, Sebro said there were now 64 test-
ing sites scattered across both islands.
She later said the male-to-female ratio of new cas-
es was equal, with the majority of cases presenting
in persons between the ages of 15 and 49.
Assuring the nation that availability of anti-ret-
roviral drugs was on the ministry's priority list for
the national formulary, Deyalsingh said 40 per cent
of the ministry's drugs budget went towards pro-
curing oncology medicine while the second major
allocation in the budget was assigned to HIV/Aids.
He said efforts to standardise the drugs being
prescribed could help Government save TT $100
million, which could be sustained if they sourced
the medication through Paho.
The US President's Emergency Plan for Aids Relief
(PEPFAR) is the US Government initiative to help save
the lives of those suffering from HIV/Aids around
This historic commitment is the largest by any
nation to combat a single disease internationally.
Minister Deyalsingh said they are still awaiting re-
sults to confirm if T&T had in fact recorded its second
birth of a baby diagnosed with microcephaly which
could be directly linked to the Zika virus.
He confirmed the birth earlier this week but yes-
terday said they were yet to receive confirmed blood
reports on whether or not it was as a result of Zika
or due to genetic factors.
Deyalsingh said they were collaborating with the Ca-
ribbean Public Health Agency on the case. He promised
to update the nation when the results were received.
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