Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 8th 2017 Contents A6 news
guardian.co.tt Monday, May 8, 2017
'We need sanity
in the system'
Health Minister Ter-
rence Deyalsingh is
moving to ensure one
curriculum is taught at
the four nursing schools
He made the comment
yesterday as he said while
different curriculum are
taught at each school there
is one exam set for all of
Speaking at a com-
memorative service in
celebration of Interna-
tional Nurses' Day at the
Holy Trinity Cathedral in
said it made sense for one
universal curriculum across
"We are going to put in
place a mechanism to ra-
tionalise nursing education
in T&T," Deyalsingh said,
noting the education of
nurses must be advanced
in this country.
"What I found is there
are four schools in nursing
and you all write the same
exam. But are you trained
in preparing for the same
exam in the same way...
the answer is no."
He said the ministry
will meet with the Edu-
cation Ministry this week
to "bring some sanity" to
the nursing exam "so that
when people from the four
different schools go to write
the exam they are all writ-
ing one exam based on one
Deyalsingh, who de-
scribed nurses as the un-
sung heroes, said their val-
ue could not be measured in
a pay cheque.
"Expect no thanks. Your
thanks will come from
another place and the re-
ward you will get then will
be much greater than any
reward you will get here,
because what you do will
live on," Deyalsingh said.
Immediate past pres-
ident of the T&T Regis-
tered Nurses Association
saying one curriculum was
"These four schools all
write the same exam, which
is the Regional Nursing Ex-
amination, but one school
teaches at an associate
degree level. The other
schools all do the degree,
so when you finish you
have a degree in nursing,"
"So the students are be-
ing examined on something
they are not taught so they
are at a disadvantage. It is
good that the minister has
recognised that we need to
have a level playing field in
She said what ought to
be recognised was a first
degree as the entry quali-
fication into nursing, as this
was recently recommended
at a Caricom meeting.
"We need to get better
results from the schools
across the board and that
will only come when we
have one curriculum," Lob-
The four schools that
teach nursing are the Col-
lege of Science, Technology
and Applied Arts of Trini-
dad and Tobago (Costaatt),
University of the Southern
Caribbean, University of
the West Indies School of
Nursing and Health Min-
istry, which offers the di-
Govt to cut duplicated drugs
The formulary of drugs in this
country will be reduced from 1,000
to 300 by the end of this month,
as Government moves to cut out
duplication and triplication of the
same type of drugs used to treat the
spectrum of illnesses.
This, however, will only take place
in the public health system, as brand
name drugs will still easily be accessed
through the private health sector.
After 18 months, additional drugs
which are also duplicated and tripli-
cated in the public health system may
also be cut out.
This was the word from Health Min-
ister Terrence Deyalsingh as he spoke
at the Caribbean Endocrine Society's
(CARES) tenth anniversary symposium
at the Hilton Trinidad, Port-of-Spain.
He assured that the public would
have a "safe and reliable supply of
drugs" throughout the year, but said
"prescribing by brand" would stop.
Saying the biggest chunk of the drug
budget comprised oncology and HIV/
Aids treatment, Deyalsingh said axing
the duplication and triplication of the
same drugs to combat these illnesses
was already in place.
He said the next step would be phase
targeting metabolic diseases like dia-
betes, adding, "We are targeting all the
high expenditure areas first."
Close to $750 million was budgeted
for drugs annually, he said.
A drug formulary is a list of prescrip-
tion drugs, both generic and brand
name, used by practitioners to iden-
tify drugs that offer the greatest overall
value. A committee of physicians, nurse
practitioners and pharmacists regulate
Deyalsingh said the decision to keep
certain drugs would be made by the
Drug Advisory Committee chaired
by the Chief Medical Officer.
"They would look at the evidence
and if it shows that paracetamol, for
instance, is at one twentieth of the cost
and has the same efficacy as a brand
name at twenty times the cost, which
would you recommend? It is going to
be a patient-centred approach," Dey-
He said while the committee was al-
ways in place, what was lacking were
the general guidelines on criteria to put
a drug onto the formulary.
"What has happened over the years
is you would have advocates of a par-
ticular drug and they would just keep
adding drugs to the national formu-
lary," he said.
"So we are going to rationalise the
drugs and guarantee the patient that
we will make available a basket of drugs
to treat the condition 12 months of the
year," Deyalsingh said.
He said this situation was not unique
to Trinidad, as Barbados was also facing
the same problem.
Asked about concerns that cheaper
and less effective drugs would instead
be made available to the public, Dey-
alsingh dispelled this saying the drugs
would be safe.
"People are fed this thing that only
expensive drugs are good. I go to the
pharmacy and buy paracetamol for only
ten cents. I take the generic drugs for
my diabetes and I save thousands of
dollars," Deyalsingh said.
Regarding ongoing complaints of the
shortage of cancer drugs, he said it was
due to the overload of the formulary but
said the problem was being addressed.
Nurses sing a hymn during the commemorative service in celebration of
International Nurses' Day at the Trinity Cathedral, Port-of-Spain, yesterday.
PHOTO: KERWIN PIERRE
Deyalsingh eyes one nursing curriculum
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