Duke: Are Tobago's hospitals equipped to prevent bacterial outbreaks?

The Scarborough General Hospital, Signal Hill, Tobago. - File photo
The Scarborough General Hospital, Signal Hill, Tobago. - File photo

ARE Tobago’s hospitals and health facilities properly equipped to prevent bacterial outbreaks? Progressive Democratic Patriots’ (PDP) political leader Watson Duke raised this concern on April 24 during a news conference at the party’s headquarters, Port Mall, Scarborough.

He was asked to comment on the seven premature babies who died from a bacterial infection at the neonatal intensive care unit at the Port of Spain General Hospital between April 4 and 9.

Duke asked, “Is our hospital properly equipped to prevent something like this in Tobago?”

He said he did not want to get involved in the discussion “because it is already being investigated and I pray they do that with decency and integrity.

“However, I am watching out for Tobago. Are we preparing ourselves to avoid anything like this? Because this bug, where did it come from? How does it exist? How does it thrive? How does it multiply? How could we ensure that Tobago doesn’t suffer from that? That is my concern.”

Duke said he has not heard Secretary of Health, Wellness and Social Protection Dr Faith BYisrael make any statement about the sector’s readiness to prevent bacterial infections in the hospitals’ neonatal units, “because they don’t understand the power and responsibility we have towards Tobagonians.”

He said he was particularly concerned about the death of a Tobago baby, Amelia Williams, who had to be taken to a hospital in Trinidad.

“I am concerned about some Tobago babies dying down there. I am concerned about that and I am saying that ought not to happen. What happen to our hospital up there? Why weren’t they up there at the point in time?”

Attorneys for Amelia’s parents Tinelle Saunders and Gus Williams, and others who lost their babies, have sent pre-action protocol letters to the North-West Regional Health Authority (NWRHA).

A Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) team is investigating.

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said in the Senate on April 16 that PAHO’s probe would be determined by the information provided to it by the NWRHA.

Last week, the NWRHA sent head of the infection, prevention and control unit Dr Darrel Jones on administrative leave, pending the outcome of the investigation.


"Duke: Are Tobago’s hospitals equipped to prevent bacterial outbreaks?"

More in this section