Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 6th 2017 Contents news A13
Monday, February 6, 2017 guardian.co.tt
Health Minister Ter-
rance Deyalsingh is
urging citizens to get
vaccinated against the H1N1
influenza virus as there have
been reported deaths from that
disease in the United States.
Speaking at a Ministry of
Health outreach programme at
Gulf City Mall in La Romaine,
Deyalsingh said the influx of
visitors during the Carnival sea-
son puts citizens at greater risk
of contracting and spreading the
"I want the population to
be aware that at Carnival time
when our visitors and family
from North America come
down, this is a most crucial
time to get our population
vaccinated," he said.
"The Centres for Dis-
ease Control's (CDC) latest
bulletin is that in the United
States, 40 of the 51 states now
have the H1N1 influenza and they are
reporting deaths, especially among chil-
dren and the elderly."
Deyalsingh said the ministry has im-
ported 100,000 vaccinations and the
goal is to break the cycle of transmis-
sion. He said anyone can be vaccinated
during the outreaches, as well as at 33 of
the nation's 107 health centres.
The minister explained that flu vac-
cines can only offer immunity for 12
"It is meant to respond to the strain of
virus circulating in that particular year,
so this vaccine only gives you immunity
in this flu cycle. You need to get this vac-
cine every 12 month, it does not confer
immunity for life."
He added: "The cost of the vaccine
to the government is about US$5 per
dose but in the private sector you can
pay between $300 to $500 for this same
thing you are getting free."
Mother who lost
baby lobbies for new
A young moth-
er whose baby died
as a result of Group
B Streptococcus (GBS)
hours after birth is lobbying
for testing for the infection
to be part of antenatal care in
this country.It appears that she
might get her wish.
The woman, who wants to be
identified only as L Maharaj, gave
birth a few months ago to a baby
girl who was unresponsive at
birth and had to be re-
"She had a very short
life of only 15 hours," she
Cause of death
was sepsis, a blood
infection caused by the
GBS bacterium. Maharaj
said she was never told
about the microorgan-
ism by her obstetri-
cian, nor did she
read about it in any
of the prenatal books.
Now she wants other
women to be alert to
the "baby-killer bacterium," which
is passed from mother to her baby
during delivery and can lead to
sepsis, meningitis and pneumonia.
Maharaj said she had a wonder-
ful pregnancy and was never sick.
However, she warned, a healthy
pregnancy should not be taken to
mean that all is well.
"About 25 per cent of all healthy
women are carriers," she said, ex-
plaining that they do not become
ill and cannot know if there is a
potential risk to the baby without
Medical director of the Women's
Hospital at Mount Hope Dr Karen
Sohan told the T&T Guardian that
GBS "is not very common but
when it occurs it has disastrous
She said testing for GBS is not
protocol in T&T but is done rou-
tinely in the United States. She said
she started doing the test routinely
in her private practice after one of
her patients lost a baby to the in-
fection. She now plans to take it a
step further and hopes to introduce
testing in the public health sector.
While she could give no timeline,
Dr Sohan said: "The logistics are
being worked out and it should
happen but we are operating in
difficult economic times and it
goes without saying that we need
to assess the cost involved."
She explained that annually
there are 20,000 deliveries in T&T.
"So there is a cost factor, but you
cannot put a value on the life of a
baby," she said.
Dr Sohan said to do the test the
woman has to undergo an internal
examination and each swab costs
$180. She said she has already spo-
ken to doctors in the public health
sector about a plan B, "so that to
the extent that we cannot do it
because of financial constraints,
we will offer it to the patient. We
will give the patient the swab and
they can pay to have the test done
at a private lab." However, she cau-
tioned that if this is done "the swab
must be taken to a private lab on
the same day it is taken."
GBS is a bacteria found in the
digestive and lower reproductive
tracts of both men and women.
The US Centres for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC) cites it as a
leading cause of sepsis and men-
ingitis in newborns in the US and
recommends routine screening
for vaginal strep B for all pregnant
women between the 35th and 37th
weeks of pregnancy.
In 2007, Dr Fitzroy Orrett pub-
lished a paper in the Internation-
al Journal of Infectious Diseases
following a six-year retrospective
study of children admitted to the
paediatric ward of the San Fernan-
do General Hospital with bacter-
emia. Dr Orrett said 704 episodes
of paediatric bacteremia were re-
viewed during the study period and
of that number there were 57 cases
of GBS. Three of the babies died.
Hosein: Clean up
can help crime
Local Government Minister Kazim
Hosein says clean ups can assist with
crime, by eliminating potential hid-
ing places for criminals.
Following the launch of the Chaguanas
Team Up to Clean Up near Price Plaza,
Narsaloo Ramaya Marg Road, Chagua-
nas, the minister said students should get
involved in environmental and clean-up
projects. Chaguanas East MP Fazal Ka-
rim, who was among officials present for
the start of the campaign, said he would
like to see the effort sustained.
The launch of the clean-up on Satur-
day served to highlight one of Chagua-
nas' pressing problems---constant traffic.
Dozens of vehicles, cars, tractors, and
trucks parked on the roadway for use
during the exercise caused a traffic pile
up in both directions.
Dr Satnarine Balkaransingh signs a copy of his book, The Shaping
of a Culture: Rituals and festivals in Trinidad compared with
selected counterparts in India, 1990-2014, for UTT chairman,
Professor Kenneth Julien during his book launch on Friday at the
National Academy for the Performing Arts in Port-of-Spain.
PHOTO: EDISON BOODOOSINGH
Links Archive February 5th 2017 February 7th 2017 Navigation Previous Page Next Page