Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 14th 2013 Contents A5
Tuesday, May 14, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
The country s only trained
neonatologist, Dr Petronella
Manning-Alleyne, said yesterday
health care professionals mishan-
dled the treatment of the coun-
try s first sextuplets, who were
born to Kieron Cummings, 29,
and Petra Lee Foon, 28, on March
4. A neonatologist is trained specif-
ically in the medical care of babies
before and up to 28 days after birth.
In a telephone interview yes-
terday, Manning-Alleyne said the
couple had been badly mishandled.
Last week Health Minister Dr Fuad
Khan described them as ungrateful
after Cummings told the T&T
Guardian he now felt they should
have had the babies delivered over-
Manning-Alleyne has rejected
Dr Khan s claim that the care of
the infants was up to international
standards. She pointed out that
no neonatologist was involved.
"We have to consider the train-
ing of these nurses. Were they
neonatally trained? Was specialist
training provided?" she asked.
She said the comments made
by the medical professionals
involved in the birth of the sex-
tuplets were a betrayal of trust.
"These parents were and are
under stress. They had six pre-
term babies. When the father said
he should have left the country to
have the babies, these healthcare
professionals should have recog-
nised it as a cry for help," Man-
Cummings comment came in
response to a T&T Guardian exclu-
sive report that consultant/head
of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
(NICU) at the Eric Williams Med-
ical Sciences Complex, Dr Cama-
nee Lutchman, had warned before
the birth that the sextuplets should
be delivered overseas to ensure
they got the care they needed.
"They were in grief," Manning-
Lee Foon gave birth to three girls
and three boys. Two of the boys
have died and their sister, two-
month-old Persia Meleigh Lee
Foon Cummings, is being treated
for pneumonia at the Eric Williams
Medical Sciences Complex. Two
girls and a boy are at home with
Manning-Alleyne said the pur-
pose of healthcare was to take care
of the physical, mental, emotional
and social well-being of the
"In my opinion, this mother is
still under tremendous amounts
of stress and the ongoing contri-
butions in the media by these
medical professionals has pushed
her further. They have influenced
public opinion negatively against
this young couple."
Minister of Local Government
Suruj Rambachan says the land
on which a clubhouse is being
constructed in Westmoorings
belongs to the residents.
He was responding to concerns
raised by footballers who use the
land, which borders the Diego Mar-
tin River, for sporting activities.
One of the footballers, Michael
Escalante, said football players had
been using the area, which has been
empty except for a few billboards,
"The land we use is highway
reserve and nothing can be built
on it. This is not the first time res-
idents in the area tried to claim the
land," Escalante said.
He said there had been a situation
last year in which police were called
in because residents started to dig
on the site without providing proof
Escalante said less than a month
ago, footballers were called into a
meeting with Rambachan and told
that a jogging track and clubhouse
would be built on the site and foot-
ballers would be given space for
their activities. Construction has
already started on the field and a
jogging track has been built.
Diego Martin Central MP Dr
Amery Browne has also expressed
concern over the haste with which
the clubhouse is being constructed.
He wants Rambachan to explain
why the road reserve is being used
for construction of a facility, why
State resources are being used to
build a clubhouse for Westmoorings
residents and show the approvals
for the building.
Last week Rambachan said a
meeting had been held with the
footballers last November. He also
said he had received proof that the
residents owned the land and had
given approval for a clubhouse to
be built. He said the construction
would be done by workers in the
Unemployment Relief Programme
Minister on Westmoorings clubhouse:
Land belongs to residents
T&T's only neonatologist:
Care of sextuplets
not handled right RADHICA SOOKRAJ
Community diabetologist at
South West Regional Health Author-
ity Dr Claude Khan says if herbalists
are regulated they can work with
doctors to bring better health care
Khan spoke yesterday at a diabetes
educational outreach programme
organised by United States pharma-
ceutical giant Sanofi Limited just days
after Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan
said he had asked Director of Public
Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard
to take action against herbal practi-
tioners who claim they could cure all
The seminar at the Couva District
Facility was attended by dozens of
Khan said one in every 13 people
in T&T suffers from diabetes.
"T&T leads the western hemi-
sphere in the prevalence of diabetes
and it is the leading cause of blind-
ness, cardiovascular disease, kidney,
stroke heart attack, nerve damage,
loss of circulation and amputation,"
He said too often diabetic patients
disregarded prescribed medication in
favour of herbal remedies. He called
for a regulatory board for the herbal
industry and said every qualified
practitioner should be registered
before administering treatment.
"One of the problems we have for
herbal therapies is there is no stan-
dardisation or checks on what herbal
therapies are coming in, as opposed
to prescription drugs, which have to
go through the food and drugs reg-
ulations," Khan said.
" A lot of stuff is being brought in
as nutritional supplements and they
don t have to go through the regu-
lations but afterwards they are being
sold over the counter to diabetic and
He said it was a myth that herbal
remedies had no side effects. Khan
also said many practitioners did not
have the qualifications to prescribe
"You need to have some experience
and qualification in diagnosing, pre-
scribing and selling medicine. You
must also be able to do further tests,"
He urged Government to regulate
the herbal industry and enforce a
stipulation for qualification. He added
that penalties should be enforced for
"Some herbalists claim their reme-
dies can heal anything from kidney
stones to cancer, diabetes and high
blood pressure, so many people are
going to the herbalists for natural
remedies. They stop their prescribed
medication and months later you find
that their condition has gotten worse."
Khan said it was not true that the
medical fraternity was against herbal-
ists. "We are registered with the Gen-
eral Medical Council of T&T and the
T&T Medical Board but there is noth-
ing like that for herbalists or alter-
native practitioners. The new board
will regulate the industry and we can
work with them," he said.
Some 500 citizens will be chosen
next week at random from among
thousands of applicants to receive lots
of land to build houses, Prime Minister
Kamla Persad-Bissessar announced
Addressing a United National Con-
gress Monday Night Forum at the
Tunapuna Hindu School, Persad-
Bissessar said some 40,000 people
were seeking homes and her govern-
ment s new "land for the landless"
programme "must be fair to all citizens,
no matter religion or race or politics
or space or place or gender."
"Everyone must have an equal
chance to own a home," she said.
Persad-Bissessar said next Tuesday,
10,000 of the 40,000 who have been
shortlisted "will know if they have been
chosen for one of the first 500 lots of
land allocated under this programme."
She added: "Five hundred sealed
receipt numbers, will be drawn from
a transparent container that will have
all 10,000 shortlisted applications.
The Prime Minister said the random
draw would take place in front of a
public audience and on television.
"It is not automatic. You will be allo-
cated a lot if your receipt is selected.
There is a process of verification as
you will have to meet a set criteria."
Persad-Bissessar said Government
was doing all it could to address the
crime problem and expressed her deep-
est sympathy to the mother and family
of teenager Sunshine Alfred, who was
murdered last week.
"To all the mothers and fathers who
have lost loved ones, we assure you
that we are working to get it right. No
mother should have to go through that
pain," Persad-Bissessar said.
She gave details of the proposed
restructured Rapid Response Unit and
said Government was buying more than
300 state-of-the-art vehicles for the
police, with added technology needed
to fight crime.
She said 77 of those vehicles would
be exclusively for the new Rapid
Response Unit and 51 of them would
be on 24-hour patrol.
"The police will be mobile all over
the land, 24 hours a day, and 51 cars
will be on the roads with two police
officers in each vehicle," she said.
PM: 500 to get land in
random draw next week
Work in progress on proposed site for the West Moorings club houses.
PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
Dr Petronella Manning-Alleyne.
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