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.