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Children’s health an urgent priority—Kamla
Amid public outrage regarding cases of wanton neglect at the nation’s hospitals, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar is admitting that much more needs to be done, citing children’s health as an “urgent priority.” At the launch of the Children’s Life Fund at the Royal Garden Hotel, High Street Kensington, London, on Friday, Persad-Bissessar said children were the “most vulnerable” who deserved better protection. She said the aim was to raise $100 million in the life fund to help families with children in need of life-saving surgeries. “We owe a duty of care to the most vulnerable in our society and the harsh reality is that there is a lot more to be done as we strive to provide the best medical attention for our children,” Persad-Bissessar said.
The fund was established last October. A Children’s Life Fund account has been also established in the UK and contributions could be made to a Barclays account. One of the crucial factors in the progress of any country was the development of the child, the adult of tomorrow—tomorrow’s engineers, doctors, progressive farmers, teachers, scientists, social leaders, Persad-Bissessar noted. “In its efforts to help meet these needs, the People’s Partnership will concentrate on establishing and expanding its own services specifically geared towards children,” she said. “The need to strengthen social safety nets, to protect and promote human rights, including the rights of children, and focus on key sectors such as health are integral parts of our work as a Government,” Persad-Bissessar said.
She said the Government was also seeking to raise the standards simultaneously in education, nutrition, sanitation and health, with all partners and stakeholders “lending a hand,” including teachers, doctors, ministries, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society. “Make no mistake, there have been improvements in the addressing of children who require specialised treatment but the access to funds remains a significant barrier to realising their fundamental right to healthy lives,” Persad-Bissessar said. “Children’s health is an urgent priority in T&T.” She cited that under the life fund, in the last nine months, the lives of 17 children were saved via surgery performed abroad at a cost of $3.9 million.
About the Fund
Created and established in November 2010 by the People’s Partnership Government of T&T, the Children’s Life Fund’s aegis is to provide urgent relief for the children, assisting those who live in the shadow of disease and illness. The Fund has also received support from the renewed charity medical Schriners Children’s Hospital. In addition, all Cabinet Ministers and Members of Parliament contribute five per cent of their salary to the Fund.
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