ALMOST one-third fewer babies were stillborn at Mt Hope Maternity Hospital in recent times, compared to the equivalent period a year before, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh told reporters yesterday on a walk-through of the new Arima Hospital.
“This is a big, big issue,” he said. “It gladdens my heart and I hope it gladdens yours. I hope we get some coverage of that good news.”
Otherwise, he said the construction of that hospital plus a new Point Fortin hospital had seen combined savings on both projects of $500 million.
Of the Arima Hospital, he said he had met the Prime Minister’s mandate to get the taxpayer value for money.
“We are on time and under budget, with no sacrifice of square footage or bed space.” He said quality and floor space had also been maintained.
Deyalsingh said the Arima Hospital, like the Sangre Grande Hospital, will offer secondary services, while the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex would offer tertiary services such as cancer treatment.
He listed services to be offered at Arima as surgery, maternity, paediatrics, radiology, endoscopy, and accident and emergency.
Deyalsingh used the occasion to urge parents to get their children vaccinated, saying the fact that this is mandatory for school attendance has led to 95 to 97 per cent of pupils being vaccinated. He contrasted TT with Italy, where vaccination is not mandatory, and which has seen an upsurge in measles.
“Also what is happening in Venezuela now, with a challenged primary healthcare system.”
Deyalsingh said Italy has seen a rise in measles, mumps and rubella because, he said, “They bought into the theory that vaccination causes autism.”
Pointing out that the doctor who propagated the idea of such a link has since been discredited, the minister urged parents to vaccinate their children.
“There is no link between the MMR vaccine and autism or any other birth defect. Please get your children vaccinated.”