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Tuesday 12 November 2019
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Microcephaly data still to be gathered

Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram
Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram

The care of babies born with microcephaly falls under the Social Development Ministry, according to chief medical officer (CMO) Dr Roshan Parasram.

Mi­cro­cephaly, a con­di­tion in which a ba­by’s head is small­er than nor­mal, is caused by the Zi­ka virus, among oth­er con­di­tions. Zika is carried by the Aedes Egypti mosquito.

Former health minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh, speak­ing in the 2020 bud­get de­bate in the Low­er House on October 15, accused Gov­ern­ment of be­ing late in re­spond­ing to the Zi­ka out­break, saying four peo­ple had died.

“Now, there are over 100 moth­ers whose ba­bies have been af­fect­ed. This (mi­cro­cephaly) is a big bur­den for peo­ple to car­ry. It’s worse than cere­bral pal­sy – chil­dren can­not walk, talk or move." he claimed.

TT's first reported case of Zika was in February 2016, with reported infections reaching their peak in mid-2016. On July 31, 2016, it was announced that more than 200 cases of the virus had been recorded in TT, of which 60 had been diagnosed in pregnant women.

Parasram said he was unable to give the exact number of cases as the mnistry did not have a registry, since Zika was a new disease and still being studied.

The CMO said he would have to visit the neonatal departments at the individual hospitals to gather that data.

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