Moriah residents can now access health care services after the Moriah Health Centre was closed since 2018.
At the public health consultation at the Moriah Community Centre on Wednesday evening, hosted by the Tobago Regional Health Authority and the Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development residents pleaded with the division to restore health service in the community as they complained about going months without primary health care in the area.
Members of the Providence/Mason Hall and Moriah community came out to raise their concerns where many of them made suggestions towards improving the health service in Tobago.
Claudia Benjamin of Moriah and a member of the Child Welfare League Moriah branch called on the Division to restore services at the health centre especially for senior citizens. She said promises were made to make health services available for the community by January 2.
TRHA Acting CEO Edwards Benjamin in response said, “We are very concerned the services at Moriah were not available for a while and we are working towards restoring that service to its fullest capacity. We are limited with the structure itself, when your new health centre comes on stream all the services will be made available. Until this happens we will be offering basic screen services and dressings as of this week.” She said the provision of services at the Moriah Health Centre is a temporary arrangement.
One resident raised concerns about the blueprint of the new health centre. He said residents should be able to see the work expected to be done just in case any concerns might arise and asked whether subcontractors from the area would be hired on the project.
Dr Agatha Carrington, secretary of the Health Division said a copy would be made available but work had already started. Dr Carrington said she suspected there would be further discussion with the group to have resident contractors involved in the construction.
One Mason Hall resident asked that medical treatment for people who are bedridden in the area be made easily accessible. He also called for better care for the elderly and recommended for persons to be dispatched into the community to conduct regular check-ups on the elderly.
Dr Roxanne Mitchell, general manager of Primary Care at TRHA, assured the residents the division was working toward having a new health centre soon. She said the Tobago’s health sector is still greatly challenged by the amount of district health visitors and physicians available to go into the community and do the initial visits.
Dr Carrington said community social workers and assistant social workers were assigned to people who needed special care. “There has been a significant effort to build a database since we came into office, we have trained additional caregivers for persons who cannot care for their loved ones.”
She said the division was willing to collaborate with NGO’s in the communities towards providing improved health care for residents.
Sheldon Cunningham, assistant secretary in the Division of Quarries, raised concerns of primary health care. He said, “Persons would get referral form the Mason Hall Health Centre to go to the hospital and those persons are denied the request from the doctor in primary care. We lost a resident this way when he was referred to a health promotion clinic, received a referral letter that took five days and on the fifth day he died. We want something to change where referral letters will be treated with urgency.”
He also asked that doctors act in a timely manner when people died at home. He complained that relatives were left waiting for hours and were having to make a number of calls before a doctor could arrive.
Kwesi Des Vignes, secretary for the Division of Quarries Infrastructure and the Environment recommended that the division partner with the village council to identify people who were willing to volunteer. He further spoke on the importance of men’s health and asked the division to develop creative ways to bring awareness to men on the importance of good heath and screening.