Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 31st 2014 Contents B1
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Lady Gaga is a bonafide pop star, but
the singer says recording jazz music was
easier than pop.
Gaga has spent two years recording an
album of jazz standards with Tony
Bennett called Cheek to Cheek, to be
released this fall.
"You know, it's funny, but jazz comes a
little more comfortable for me than pop
music, than R&B music," Gaga said in an
interview Monday. "I've sang jazz since I
was 13, which is kind of like my little secret
that Tony found out. So this is almost
easier for me than anything else."
Gaga made the comments with Bennett
by her side ahead of the duo's taped
performance at Jazz at Lincoln Center in
New York City, where her parents
The 28-year-old and 87-year-old
Bennett first collaborated on his Grammy-
winning, platinum-selling 2011 album,
Duets II. Bennett said fans will be
impressed with Gaga's vocal performance
on the upcoming album.
"They're going to say we had no idea
she sings that well," he said."
Cheek to Cheek is Gaga's first release
since last year's Artpop. Bennett released
a collaborative album with Latin singers in
2012 called Viva Duets. (AP)
Gaga on Bennett duet CD: Jazz comes easier vs pop
Dr Zulaika Ali remembers when two
women had to share a bed at the maternity
ward of the Port-of-Spain General Hospital.
In her more than 30 years as a paediatrician,
neonatologist and UWI professor in child
health/neonatology at the university s St
Augustine campus, she has seen a great many
other things. But Ali was never content to be
simply a spectator. Her memories of the
changing face of healthcare in T&T, especially
as it relates to child health and HIV care, tend
to include her as a major agent of change.
By the time she was awarded the Chaconia
Medal (silver) in 2010 for "long and merito-
rious service to the Republic of T&T in the
sphere of medicine," she had been one of the
forces behind a number of improvements at
the Eric Williams Medical Complex and had
spearheaded a series of initiatives designed
to improve healthcare across the country.
When she was presented with the Medal
by then President Max Richards, his wife
Jean, also a medical professional, said of Ali,
"She has done so much for child healthcare.
She is always travelling and working. She is
always interested in child healthcare and its
advancement. She is a hard worker."
In 1981, a year after her first medical
appointment as registrar in the paediatric
ward at the Port-of-Spain General Hospital,
Ali was appointed as a consultant to what
was then the new Mt Hope Women s Hospital
(MHWH). One of her first challenges was to
set up a neonatal ward with very few
"There were no deliveries taking place orig-
inally," says Ali, "patients were being decanted
out of Port-of-Spain after delivering their
babies so it was sort of healthy mothers and
their babies. As time went by the hospital
started having women deliver and as a result
of that they needed a neonatal service."
Ali explains that with a staff of only two
house officers, two nurses and one registrar,
it was almost impossible to provide an ade-
quate service. "The nurses were working three
shifts in 24 hours," says Ali, "as a consultant
I was there 24 hours a day, the two house
officers were alternating."
Despite the time and dedication required
to provide just a "minimal service," Ali says
that in less than three years, "we gradually
increased the amount of service we were able
to provide so that by 1984 at the maternity
hospital we were delivering the same number
of patients as Port-of-Spain General Hospital."
"It has always been about pushing for
change," says Ali reflectively, "pushing for
equipment, pushing for nurses, pushing for
junior doctors." Asked about the process she
says, "write letters, make noise, make noise,
make noise." She laughs heartily and adds,
"I think if you don t have a passion for some-
thing, you wouldn t get it."
Ali s noise-making helped with improve-
ments in the number, quality and training of
nurses at Dr Eric Williams Medical Complex,
a regular supply of medical consumables,
better monitoring equipment, cleaning equip-
ment, robust infection control, and better
management of intravenous nutrition. And
that was just in the first few years of just one
part of her career.
At UWI she worked to improve how med-
ical students are taught and assessed at under-
graduate and postgraduate level---she is inter-
ested in ensuring that local practices are in
line with international standards---and among
other things, helped to introduce the Objective
Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) and
worked to change the format of written papers
for the final Medical Board BSc examinations.
In 2004, her dedicated efforts at UWI were
rewarded with the title of Professor of Child
Health (Neonatology). Her other accomplish-
ments had included writing for a number of
medical books, medical journals, and the
presentation of over 80 papers in a mix of
local and international medical forums.
And then there is UWI Telehealth. A service
launched in 2004 that helps families with
children whose illnesses prove difficult to
diagnose and therefore treat, to access medical
care from a panel of international experts.
The service which relies on the use of
telecommunications and videoconferencing
technology is also the route through which
children can and have benefitted from free
surgeries at the Hospital for Sick Children
(SickKids), Canada s "most research-intensive
hospital and the largest centre dedicated to
improving children s health." According to
the service s brochure, "the survival rate for
those who have benefitted from the pro-
gramme is 100 per cent." Ali is the service s
founder and director.
The T&T Health Training Centre (TTHTC)
opened its doors in 2007. Ali says the centre,
which shares the same building as UWI Tele-
health service, "was developed to cater for
the upskilling of healthcare providers in
treatment, care and support for people
living with and affected by HIV."
Working in the area of HIV was not a
deviation from working with children
because says Ali, "when HIV came to the
fore in the 1980s ... mother to child trans-
mission ... was the main way in which
children were acquiring HIV." Confronted
then with the problem of mother to child
transmission and the gaps in HIV care in
T&T, Ali initially answered the call from the
Ministry of Health, to assist in training health
care professionals "on how HIV affected
women and children." She also
gave lectures to healthcare
providers and says Ali, she
was a regular feature on local
radio programmes in an
effort to confront the fear,
stigma, and discrimina-
tion HIV was met with.
"And then in 2004,"
says Ali, "the govern-
ment developed the
National Aids Co-
tee (NACC) and I
was invited to be a
member of that
ber, together with Professor Carl Theodore.
And because I was in the Faculty of Medical
Sciences involved in training and also in treat-
ing patients, and sat on the sub-committee
for treatment, care and support and research
and surveillance, it meant that we were able---
the members of the NACC---to get national
information, treatment care and support not
only from the institutions but also from the
NGOs and as a result of that we needed to
devise ways in which we could
alleviate and mitigate the
effect of the HIV and
one of the ways that
I thought we could
use is by training."
Never shy of the
work involved or
what can appear to
her to be the obvi-
ous progression of an
earlier idea, Ali says
that she worked with
Dr Violet Duke and Dr
A REAL AGENT OF CHANGE
Though retired, Ali still wants to make a difference
"We are improved. We now have national guidelines. We have people trained, doctors
trained in managing the patients. But we still have a lot to improve," she concedes,
"we still have a problem with stigma and discrimination, we still have a problem
with testing. We need more people to come forward and test, we still need a lot of
work in prevention and in those patients who are on treatment, a lot of support
work in the area of assisting them to disclose, to assist them in their
management and in drug adherence because if you don't take your drugs as
prescribed, then you will get the virus mutating and you will get resistance.
• Continues on
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