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$30m to be spent on pay rise for health workers

Friday, July 25, 2014

The mosquito-borne ChikV can bring on arthritis or cause extreme joint pain if one has arthritis, Health Minister Fuad Khan said yesterday. At Government’s weekly media briefing, at the Office of the Prime Minister, St Clair, he said mosquito eradication and the removal of all breeding grounds were key to limiting infection. He reiterated eradication measures. Government will invest $30 million to increase salaries for doctors and other primary health care workers, needed to work longer hours for extension of opening hours for health centres. 

This is geared to provide services for people seeking diagnostic testing for conditions including high blood pressure, diabetes and other issues, he said. Khan said the majority of citizens suffer from non-communicable diseases, with T&T’s diabetic population higher than or as significant as that of the US and a cardiovascular disease rate surpassed only by Mexico’s. Reversing the trend involves prevention, including cutting salt and sugar intake, on which the ministry is focusing, he added. 

Some health centres will open from 5 am to 9 pm, others, 24 hours, and some until 10 pm, depending on the division. Extended hours will also take the load off hospitals’ emergency units
Pay increases for extra hours range from $136 an hour to $200 (doctors) from $100 an hour to $180 (house officers), and cleaners, $30 an hour. Khan also announced an $85 million plan, starting in the South West Regional Health Authority, to screen for diabetic retinopathy, which is rampant, especially in south Trinidad. He said if T&T’s diabetic population is 130,000, by 2030 it will be 200,000 and 14,000 will lose their eyesight and 22,000 will be blind by 2030 without screening and treatment.