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Hampers for new fathers at SFGH

Monday, June 18, 2018
Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh congratulates Junior Vallenilla on the arrival of his new born baby girl while celebrating Father’s Day with the fathers on the ward at the San Fernando General Hospital, San Fernando, yesterday. PICTURES KRISTIAN DE SILVA

Government has no plans for psychiatric evaluation of all medical workers, Health Minister Terrance Deyalsingh said yesterday. His comments follow the suspension of a medical intern who allegedly posted a racist rant on social media last week.

Speaking to reporters after distributing Father’s Day hampers at the San Fernando General Hospital yesterday, Deyalsingh said there is no policy to ensure that all new and existing medical workers undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

“This is an extreme situation and I will not be saying anything more until the investigation is completed. I cannot assume it is a psychiatric case. I have to stay neutral,” he said. “The woman is entitled to due process. All of the media has made a diagnosis and I cannot do that. I have to remain fair and transparent and allow the process to take its course.”

Asked to comment on a fake profile under the name Micah Marley which also contained racist comments, Deyalsingh said the South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA) had already issued a statement on the issue. The SWRHA said it had reviewed its human resource and payroll databases and confirmed Marley was a fake profile meant to cause disharmony.

Asked whether T&T had sufficient laws to deal such incidents, Deyalsingh said: “That is for the Attorney General to say and that is why the AG has a cyber crime unit to deal with these issues. Incidents like these is what we have to live with now in the age of social media.”

During his visit to the newly spruced up labour ward yesterday, Deyalsingh said he was heartened to see fathers being part of the birthing process. He spoke with one father, David Ramkissoon, who broke down in tears after witnessing the birth of his child.

Deyalsingh said being a father meant being a part of the child’s life until death. “It means being there to do homework, to play, to guide that child, so they become a responsible adult,” he said.

The minister lamented that men are not as proactive as women when it comes to safeguarding their health.

“Men traditionally don’t seek out health care as much as women. Women are more in tune with their bodies and seek health care. We have to get the men to seek out proper health care and deal with the problems that afflict them,” he said.

Deyalsingh said the Health Ministry is helping with this through the non-communicable disease plan.

Medical consultant Dr Micheal Prasad said that fathers are allowed to stay with their partners during birth if they attend two to three sessions of Lamaze classes at the hospital. He said some fathers are even given the chance of cutting the umbilical cord.

“Not all fathers will be keen to do that,” he said.


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