The Belle Garden Health Centre has been closed for over approximately a month, causing concern to residents who are now calling on the relevant authorities to restore basic healthcare services in the area.
Speaking at the Progressive Democratic Patriots weekly media briefing last Tuesday, Minority Councillor Dr Faith BYisrael highlighted the issue. She said villagers are calling on the Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development Dr Agatha Carrington to say why the centre was closed and how soon operations will resume.
BYisrael said, "I have been getting calls from old people who are supposed to have clinic but can’t get their date there and have to go to another health centre. I got calls from young people who trying to get services and from others who are just trying to get their blood pressure and blood sugar done, because they are telling them they need to know their numbers and status.”
She added, “No one seems to know what is the hold up, no one knows what is happening, and when they asks questions there seems to be more, 'We don’t know why.’ But more importantly, we don’t know 'when,' and that is not good enough. The secretary needs to step up and say what is happening and have the THA complete whatever it is needs to be done so that the residents Belle Garden can use the centre as they are used to. It is unfair for them to travel to other communities when we have a health centre that is there and should be functional.”
Asked about the status of the centre, Secretary Carrington directed all questions to newly appointed Tobago Regional Health Authority CEO Sheldon Cyrus. Newsday attempted to speak to Cyrus on the issue but was unsuccessful. His secretary took this reporter's name and contact number but failed to return the call up to press time.
Newsday understands arrangements have been made for patients to utilise other centres while the Belle Garden facility is closed. People with clinic appointments were sent to the Pembroke Health Centre and those needing emergency assistance can visit the Roxborough walk-in clinic.