DPP to get file on eye clinic

Health Min­is­ter Ter­rence Deyals­ingh said yes­ter­day that a file is be­ing com­piled and will be sent to the Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions in re­la­tion to the com­pa­ny in­volved in the drug which caused sev­en pa­tients to go blind in ei­ther one eye or both eyes.

The sto­ry was first re­port­ed ex­clu­sive­ly in the Sun­day Guardian on Oc­to­ber 6 when it was re­port­ed that sev­en peo­ple were in­ject­ed with a taint­ed eye in­jec­tion brought in­to the coun­try by “il­le­git­i­mate im­por­ta­tion chan­nels” and had to un­der­go surgery to have one or both in­fect­ed eyes re­moved.

 

Back in Ju­ly, the Min­istry of Health re­called the im­port­ed in­jec­tion which con­tained Tri­am­cineclone Ace­tonide as its main in­gre­di­ent.

In the past four months, the sev­en pa­tients have un­der­gone eye re­moval surgery and are cur­rent­ly be­ing out­fit­ted with pros­thet­ic glass eyes.

Deyals­ingh gave the as­sur­ance dur­ing the 2020 Bud­get de­bate.

“I don’t want to say any more due to the po­ten­tial for lit­i­ga­tion,” he added.

Deyals­ingh told the Par­lia­ment that when news broke in Ju­ly the Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary in the Min­istry of Health in­struct­ed that a file be “con­struct­ed and that file will be go­ing to the DPP in short or­der. Let the DPP take what­ev­er ac­tion he has to take.”

The Health Min­is­ter said the oth­er ac­tion tak­en by his min­istry was to re­view the award of ten­ders to the com­pa­ny in­volved, “I have in­struct­ed that this en­ti­ty will not be get­ting any awards un­der the re­new­al of awards be­ing award­ed.”

Deyals­ingh told the Par­lia­ment that since the sto­ry broke his min­istry had done two things, a file com­piled to be sent to the DPP and “that par­tic­u­lar com­pa­ny will not be get­ting any ten­ders.”

How­ev­er, in­for­ma­tion ob­tained by the T&T Guardian based on doc­u­ments from Nipdec showed that as of Sep­tem­ber 2019 the same com­pa­ny was paid $2.5mil­ion to sup­ply non-phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal items and an­oth­er $12.8 mil­lion to sup­ply phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal drugs to pub­lic hos­pi­tals.

On an­oth­er news re­port—re­gard­ing last week’s dis­cov­ery of 69 peo­ple at an Arou­ca re­li­gious min­istry’s fa­cil­i­ty—Deyals­ingh de­nied the fa­cil­i­ty was trans­ferred un­der his Min­istry. He said the UNC Cu­mu­to Man­zanil­la MP’s re­cent claim on this was in­cor­rect. Deyals­ingh claimed the MP had said so in a bid to ex­tri­cate her (for­mer) ad­min­is­tra­tion from the Arou­ca is­sue since that fa­cil­i­ty had re­ceived $7 mil­lion from 2012 to 2015.

“I checked at the So­cial De­vel­op­ment Min­istry and that fa­cil­i­ty is nowhere un­der any con­trol of Health. What hap­pened is that a fa­cil­i­ty in San Fer­nan­do—New Hori­zons—was trans­ferred from So­cial De­vel­op­ment to Health,” he said.

Say­ing men­tal health was the next Non Com­mu­ni­ca­ble Dis­ease (NCD) , he said plans to de­cen­tralis men­tal health fa­cil­i­ties from the 117 year old St Ann’s hos­pi­tal to satel­lite cen­tres, he said fa­cil­i­ties like New Hori­zons would be ac­ces­si­ble to res­i­dents in the fur­thest reach­es of T&T and al­low rein­te­gra­tion with fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties and car­ry “less stig­ma.” (See more in ar­ti­cle be­low)

Deyals­ingh said sui­cide fig­ures dropped from 2013 to 201 but said there was a prob­lem with ado­les­cent sui­cides.

Deyals­ingh com­plained that T&T’s “free” pub­lic health ser­vice was tak­en for grant­ed and peo­ple were un­grate­ful.

“You can do 99 things right but you get no ac­claim and there are no scream­ing head­lines. But do one thing wrong and the me­dia cru­ci­fies you for it! Health­care is free, T&T—ap­pre­ci­ate it!”

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Story by NEWS DESK

Image by SHIRLEY BAHADUR

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