Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 29th 2014 Contents GEISHA KOWLESSAR
The public hospitals
are bursting at the seams
due to the volume of peo-
ple ailing with complica-
tions resulting from non-
So much so that the
Ministry of Health has
been forced to partner
with the private hospitals
so as to clear the growing
backlog of cases.
So said Health Minister
Dr Fuad Khan yesterday
while speaking at the
launch of the external
patient programme at the
ministry s office, Park
The programme is
expected to begin on
Khan said some 3,000
people were on a waiting
list for cataract surgery.
That, he added, could have
been avoided if people
took better care of their
health by eating properly
"Why is there a need
for the external patient
programme? These pro-
gramme are specific in
nature to cardiac and kid-
ney diseases. We have had
a lot of patients clamour-
ing for cataract, hip and
joint surgeries, MIR and
CT scan services.
"I am not ashamed to
admit it. We do have a
backlog of reports on MIR
and CT scans. We have a
lot of patients who unfor-
tunately need hip and
knee replacement," Khan
He said the programme
was as a result of some 20
to 25 years of unhealthy
living, in particular an
increase in salt, sugar, oil
and fried foods, coupled
with a sedentary lifestyle.
"Our rapid expansion
cannot keep pace with the
amount of patients going
to these hospitals seeking
treatment for cardiac serv-
ices, dialysis and retinal
"As a result of the vol-
ume of patients going to
the system we have decid-
ed to come up with the
external patient pro-
gramme, " Khan added.
He said the tendering
procedure for volume-
pricing was already com-
pleted. Dental and prostate
services were expected to
be included in the future.
"This is an initiative of
the Cabinet because of the
clamouring need for a
decision to deal with the
long waiting periods of the
various aspects of the
health care system.
"The volume of
patients going to the
health sector is as a result
disease which in the next
20 years we may have to
build more hospitals, have
another external patient
programme at a
higher...and I want the
media to be observant and
see how many fat people
we have in T&T when
compared to thin peo-
ple...you would be sur-
prised," Khan added.
An elder of the Seventh Day Adven-
tist Church yesterday warned of the
negative impact that has resulted from
the stereotyping of certain commu-
nities and the effect it has had on
Delivering brief remarks during the
opening session of day two of the
Prayers Plus crime symposium at the
Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre,
St Ann s, Thomas Isaac said:
"We have slummified the landscape
and ghettorised our townships. We
have allowed that to happen. When
you live in a slum, it destroys you men-
tally... you can t perform... you are
ashamed of yourself and you are envi-
ous of one another."
Citing this as one of the main con-
tributors to the high crime rate being
experienced, Isaac said that develop-
ment did not equate with the fun-lov-
ing people that Trinbagonians were
However, he attributed the deviant
behavior by some people as a direct
result of "an irresponsible media and
Declaring the high crime rate was
incomprehensible, Isaac said despite
high literacy levels and the low unem-
ployment figure "we are among the
greatest killers in the world."
Stating that T&T was a small and
wealthy island with ample resources
to ensure air, ground and maritime
protection, Isaac questioned why such
technology was not being used to detect
and help solve crimes.
He said Carnival was a celebration
of lawlessness demonstrated by a lack
of restraint and permissiveness, sexual
Isaac said that, coupled with insti-
tutional decay, degradation of the phys-
ical environment and flawed political
policies were all major contributors to
criminal and deviant behavior.
"We have too many antiquated laws
in T&T that are totally irrelevant and
legislature is not addressing it," he added.
Isaac called on the church to "per-
ceive itself as the moral conscience
of society," hence its responsibility
to intervene in the situation.
Delivering the feature address yes-
terday was acting National Security
Minister Clifton De Couteau who
agreed that the Government needed
to partner with the public and pri-
vate sectors to bring the crime sit-
uation under control.
He said one major strategy was
the adoption of the concept that we
were all our brothers keepers.
De Couteau said several factors
needed to be considered in the
preservation of national security.
Among them, he said, was the
stability of the home, marriage,
proper parenting, family structures
and collaborative efforts by the
church, home, school and commu-
"These are all powerful transmit-
ters of attitudes, values and duties
which, if effectively internalised, can
create the climate of peace and secu-
rity that is so necessary in our nation
today," he added.
Admitting that these were chal-
lenging times, De Couteau called for
emphasis to be placed on strength-
ening human and family values as
"Many of our young people, both
male and female, have already paid
the high price of going down the
wrong path in life for lack of proper
Chairman of the Economic Devel-
opment Board Richard Young said
over TT$7 billion had been spent
on crime-fighting initiatives and
equipment, which in turn had cre-
ated a diversion of state resources
away from other programmes.
Agreeing that an absence of values
and lack of leadership at all levels
had played major roles in the current
situation, Young said the time had
come now for the authorities and
agencies to stop paying lip service
and "walk the talk."
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, May 29, 2014
#1-7 Fitz Blackman Drive
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Port of Spain, Trinidad W.I.
Fax: 868 623-6766
with quali ed MRI Technologists,
MRI Radiologists and MRI Physicists.
The country's most
Executive chairman of Junior Achievement T&T J Errol Lewis, left, chats with
Brig Gen Anthony Phillips-Spencer, centre, and acting National Security Minister
and Minister of Gender, Youth and Child Development Clifton De Coteau at day
two of yesterday's symposium. PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA
Elder: Living in a slum
destroys you mentally
Govt teams with
to clear backlog
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• Some $29 million on radiotherapy for the year to
• $192 million for medical aid.
• $36 million on cardiac services.
• Approximately $67 million on renal dialysis.
• Approximately $2 million on tissue transplants.
The programme is geared towards patients who
have been waiting longer than three months for
surgical procedures or for MIRs and CT scans
results or pathology reports which in some cases
take as long as a year.
A patient could fill out a form for the external
service and then submit it to the Health Ministry.
A voucher covering the full medical cost would
then be given and the patient could chose the
private health institution to conduct the procedure.
Khan said several international suppliers had
applied to take part in the programme including
Columbia and Puerto Rico.
ABOUT THE PROGRAMME
WHAT THE MINISTRY HAS SPENT SO FAR
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