Prof Terence Seemungal, dean of the Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of the West Indies, St Augustine, has described as “an important task,” investigating the factors contributing to the clinical outcomes of covid19 patients in Trinidad and Tobago.
He gave this brief reply to Sunday Newsday when contacted on his role.
On Saturday, the Prime Minister announced that Seemungal will lead an eminently-qualified, five-man committee to review the operations of health care facilities, in light of criticism in some quarters that substandard care was contributing to the large number of covid19 related deaths in the country.
The team includes former dean of the Faculty of Medical Sciences Prof Emerita Phyllis Pitt-Miller, public health specialist Dr Anton Cumberbatch, consultant anaesthetist and intensive care specialist Dr Vidya Dean and Director, Caribbean Centre for Health Systems, Research and Development, Faculty of Medical Sciences Prof Donald Simeon.
The team’s scope of work includes, among other things, identifying the profile of the patients who died from covid19 by number and types of comorbidities including obesity, ethnicity, age and gender.
They are also required to examine the admission, discharge, transfer policy and procedure to determine the impact, if any, on clinical outcome.
The team, which begins its work on Monday, is expected to present an initial report to the Government by Friday.
In May 2020, Seemungal lead UWI to do "solidarity trials" initiated by the World Health Organization (WHO) as part of the regional effort to deal with the covid19 pandemic.
The protocols of these studies were to be reviewed by the ethics committees of UWI and the Ministry of Health. Seemungal said then the trials were to take place at the university’s campuses in TT, Jamaica, Barbados and the Bahamas. The trials were to compare four drug treatment options against the standard care in each country to determine their effectiveness against the virus.