Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh has accused the media of “poisoning the population” and failing to highlight the good work being done by staff in the healthcare system.
Delivering the feature added at the Eastern Regional Health Authority’s (ERHA) Excellence Awards titled Celebrating Our Eastern Gems, at the Bishop Anstey High School East on Saturday evening, Deyalsingh announced a major development for Sangre Grande.
He said by March to April 2024, residents of that community and environs should be able to utilise their new three-storey, 106-bed hospital.
In September this year, the Urban Development Corporation of T&T (Udecott) announced that the interior construction, the mechanical, electrical and plumbing installations and external works were all that needed to be completed on the hospital. Back then these tasks were all over 50 per cent complete.
With the hospital well on the way, the Health Minister proposed a contest for the ERHA staff, when it officially opens.
“But I have a challenge, doh clap too soon ... so we open Point Fortin, new Point Fortin going real good eh (sic), we open Arima, Arima is fast becoming and getting the reputation for being the best place to be in T&T if you sick eh, so your challenge is when we open Grande you are to take Arima off the pedestal,” Deyalsingh urged.
His encouragement came as he congratulated and thanked the healthcare professionals for their efforts and hard work as he said it was often overlooked and unappreciated.
“Yours is a thankless job, but tonight we are here to give thanks,” he said.
“You healthcare providers do not get the public acclaim that you deserve,” he added.
Deyalsingh recalled that when he was an Opposition senator and Therese Baptiste-Cornelis was the Health Minister he told her then that the government would not get any thanks for the hundreds and thousands of miracles that the free public health system produces every day.
“Let one thing go wrong and the media will crucify you, those were my words,” Deyalsingh said.
This year the ERHA made news headlines for firing a doctor who was convicted of drug trafficking and also launched an investigation surrounding the death of three-year-old Ariah Sheppard.
The toddler died on July 11 after falling ill at her grandmother’s house at St Helena Village, Matelot.
There have been several reports of the constant closure of several health facilities in the ERHA.
“Let one thing go wrong and the media poisons the population and forget the 999,000 good that you did, that is the society that we live in,” Deyalsingh said.
Despite this, the minister asked the audience to give a heartfelt round of applause for ERHA CEO Ronald Tsoi-a-Fatt, who he said was there for authority during the good and bad times.
Some of the night’s awardees included Sherifa Ali who won the Individual of the Year, Auxiliary Staff award and Dr Damion Basdeo won Individual of the Year, Medical Profession.
The Best Managed Facility award went to the Sangre Grande Enhanced Health Centre.