T&T becomes a centre of excellence for maternal and infant health
"The Centre of Excellence is not a building but an attitude - it’s a culture change in the healthcare system. We are now recognised internationally and regionally as the place to come to learn about bringing down maternal mortality and infant mortality,” the Honourable Terrence Deyalsingh, Minister of Health stated during his presentation at the Rotary Club of Port of Spain’s weekly lunch meeting on Tuesday 17th July, 2018.
The Minister, during his address, emphasised the many successes achieved in the area of maternal and infant health in the last three years, which included the reduction of maternal mortality and infant mortality in the public health system. The Honourable Terrence Deyalsingh stated that these successes were due to:
- The establishment of the Directorate of Women’s Health in 2015. The Honourable Terrence Deyalsingh assumed the position from September 2015 until Dr. Adesh Sirjusingh was appointed to the position of the Director of Women’s Health in 2017;
- The institutionalisation of best-practice methods across the Regional Health Authorities;
- Engagement with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to provide training for medical professionals;
- Physical infrastructure upgrades and the acquisition of new equipment, such as the new neonatal transporters at the Sangre Grande Hospital used to transfer high-risk infant cases safely to other health facilities. Additionally, due to these improvements, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in the Port of Spain Hospital is now regarded as the best in the region;
- The establishment of an antenatal registry, in November 2015, which to date has over 8,000 patient records; and
- Resource allocations to the various hospitals and public health facilities.
Due to these policy and infrastructural improvements, Trinidad and Tobago has surpassed the Sustainable Development Goals for maternal mortality rates, twelve years before the allotted timeframe (2030).
In the future, the Ministry of Health will collaborate with PAHO to implement and upgrade the neonatal information system which will allow neonatologists to access patient information instantly, on hand-held devices. The Minister announced that this system will be piloted at the Sangre Grande Hospital.
Additionally, a new NICU will be built at the San Fernando and the Sangre Grande Hospitals, and the Mount Hope Women’s Hospital’s NICU will be upgraded to international standards.
The Ministry of Health will continue to put a great focus on Women's Health and by extension, maternal health facets as we aim to achieve a Healthy Me, a Healthy You and a Healthy Trinidad and Tobago.