Ministry of Health confirms procurement of ‘AIDS machinery’ above board

Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh

The Ministry of Health notes with extreme concern the media report on the acquisition of equipment for a Molecular Biology Laboratory Service for the Ministry of Health and wishes to correct the misinformation that was placed in the public domain.

1. All the required procurement processes were followed in relation to the procurement of the equipment.

2. The contract for the sup­ply, in­stal­la­tion, and com­mis­sion­ing of equipment for a Mol­e­c­u­lar Bi­ology Lab­o­ra­to­ry of the Ministry of Health was awarded on February 6, 2018 by the Central Tenders Board to Massy Integrated Retail Limited (Massy Distribution Division) at a total cost of $40, 645, 357.20, which will cover a five-year period.

3. The legal agreement, prepared by the Chief State Solicitor’s Department, Ministry of the Attorney General & Legal Affairs, was signed by Massy Integrated Retail Limited and the Ministry of Health on March 20, 2019.

It is understandable and common that a contract of such a significant value and complex nature would have a lengthy deliberation process before parties arrive at a final agreement.

4. A molecular testing platform will be installed at both the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex (EWMSC) and at the Medical Research Foundation of Trinidad and Tobago (MRFTT) by the third quarter of 2019. The relevant staff training will be conducted. This will be followed by the commissioning and then the testing of the equipment before full deployment.

5. Viral load testing for HIV positive patients continues on the current testing platform at both the EWMSC and the MRFTT. There is no ‘significant backlog of tests’ as was reported.

The Ministry of Health reaffirms its commitment to the implementation of proper procurement practices for the optimal allocation of resources and the provision of the best possible health services to the people of Trinidad and Tobago.

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