Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 16th 2018 Contents A14 news
Friday, March 16, 2018
The Syrian Lebanese
tions (SLWA) pioneer
Feed The Need Pro-
gramme has raised
over $32,000 to aid
in providing food
for those in need.
Launched in No-
vember 2017, the
Feed The Need Pro-
gramme partnered with
32 restaurants and food
outlets to raise funds in
aid of SLWA’s feeding ini-
These included the on-
going monthly distribu-
tion of 60 food hampers
to families and organisa-
tions in need, as well as
the Associations annual
Christmas hamper drive
that sees 1500 hampers
distributed to the needy
These hampers, which
are filled with pantry sta-
ples such as flour, rice,
dried peas/beans, tuna,
macaroni and more,
help provide nutritional
stability to families who
have limited financial re-
rants collected funds via
a donation box or an “add
on” option for card based
SLWA, in a statement,
thanked and expressed
its gratitude to all restau-
rants and sponsors who
came on to support the
The statement added:
“Additionally the Asso-
ciation whole heartedly
thanks the people of Trin-
idad and Tobago for their
participation and price-
“It is with this success
and partnership that the
association is currently
working to make this an
annual initiative with in-
creased national aware-
For more information
on the Feed the Need pro-
restaurants, sponsors or
to join the fight against
hunger please visit the
Feed the Need website at
You can also visit the
Facebook page at www.
RADHICA DE SILVA
Instructed to complete 400 cataract surgeries per month,
doctors of the Ophthalmology Department of the San Fer-
nando General Hospital are finding it challenging to fulfil
their mandate because of severe staff shortages and space
The doctors have been given a directive by Health Minis-
ter Terrence Deyalsingh and chief executive officer of the
South West Regional Health Authority Gail Miller-Meade
to clear the waiting list by August. There are 2,400 patients
at San Fernando General Hospital awaiting cataract sur-
A source, who requested anonymity, said there were
five teams of doctors working in the Ophthalmology De-
partment which provides a range of services including
emergency ophthalmic, treatment of adnexal/lid, cata-
ract, glaucoma and cornea and external diseases. Each
team has four to five medical officers.
Since the minister’s mandate, the teams have been
working throughout the day to deal with clinic duties and
the additional cataract surgeries workload.
“We need to get more staffing and we must shifty our entire eye
clinic which we share with ENT,” the source said.
Since the additional cataract workloads, the five senior doctors
have been struggling to manage the workload and motivate staff.
“We have 23 medical officers on the team who have to see about
these duties. We have five senior doctors and this is not enough
staff to run full clinics and accommodate 30 cataract patients
per day,” the source said. Concerns have been raised with Mill-
er-Meade but the situation has not been rectified.
When contacted, Director of Health Dr Albert Persaud denied
that the quality of surgeries was being compromised. He said all
patients who were undergoing surgeries had been screened to en-
sure that all medical safety measures were in place.
He said SWRHA’s commitment was quality of service so patients
were not being placed at any risk.
Head of the Ophthalmology Department Dr Anil Armoogum said
it took a skilled practitioner an average of half an hour to perform
a cataract surgery. He said if there was a complication, however,
the surgery could take more than an hour. He said the cataract
initiative was an admirable one which would benefit patients who
were in danger of losing their vision.
Miller-Meade in an email confirmed that said SWRHA’s target
was to schedule 400 persons per month for surgery.
“Each patient is screened before the actual surgery. If a patient’s
blood pressure (BP) is high, the patient will be counselled on the
management of his BP and referred to the Eye Outpatients Clinic
to assist with further management of his/her BP. The surgery will
then be rescheduled,” Miller-Meade said.
She added for the period 4 to 9 March, 83 patients were booked
for surgery but only 71 patients received surgeries.
Asked about staff shortages, Miller-Meade said: “Staffing was
one of the issues raised and addressed at the meeting where addi-
tional staff were sourced and allocated to the project.”
With regard to the short supply of medicine, Miller-Meade said:
“All medicines required for the increase of surgeries have been
procured and delivered. The Eye Outpatient Clinic screening
areas will now be expanded to provide a dedicated area for pre-as-
sessment and post-operation cases assessment.” She also said
weekly meetings were being held with staff to discuss problems.
Deyalsingh also said quality surgeries would be performed.
At the launch of the cataract initiative on March 5, Deyalsingh
said he wanted to clear T&T’s cataract waiting list the by year’s
end. The list contained 4,308 people and already since the cata-
ract drive was launched, 1072 operations have been done.
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