Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh says there is a crisis in the outbreak of H1N1 or swine flu in Trinidad especially in the southern part of the country where there have been three reported deaths.
Deyalsingh made this disclosure to the media after the official opening of the Sangre Grande Enhanced Health Centre at Ojoe Road, Sangre Grande yesterday.
The Minister of Health confirmed that three deaths have been recorded as a result of H1N1 and noted there are many more lab-confirmed cases.
He advised the population of Trinidad and Tobago to get the influenza vaccine as it is being offered at the nation’s health institutions free of charge.
He said some people are lackadaisical as they never seem to seek the interest of their own health.
Deyalsingh made an appeal to all present to encourage members of their family and community to take the flu shot before its too late. He said in 24 hours someone having the virus can die.
The Minister of Health has been appealing to the population to get the vaccine but he says his pleas have fallen on deaf ears.
He recalled the Minister of Works urging motorists to have their vehicles inspected before the end of the five-month moratorium, but they did not adhere to his call and this resulted in a last-minute rush and chaos at the inspection centres over the last few weeks.
He says it is the same with H1N1 vaccine with three reported deaths, people are now flooding the health institutions to get the vaccine.
He said in Tabaquite, where one person died from the H1N1 virus, Senior Nurse Eleanor John-Nicholas reported that there was a mad rush for the vaccines and the health centre in that region was forced to open yesterday to meet the demand.
The centre usually administers 20 vaccines per day but this has now risen to over 100 per day and increasing rapidly.
Deyalsingh said in his first year in office there were eight cases of H1N1, none in the following two years, but there is already a surge in 2019.
Deyalsingh said health officials are focused on pregnant patients and want to assure them that the vaccines are safe.
He said they have made a concerted effort at their antenatal clinics to have pregnant patients accept the vaccine. Currently close to 2,000 pregnant women have been immunised.
According to Deyalsingh three women who were not vaccinated almost died, two have survived and one is being treated at Mt Hope hospital.
Deyalsingh gave the assurance that the vaccine is safe for pregnant patients and their foetus at any stage.
He said the most challenges they faced is from the poor people who don’t seek good health care because they are fighting to survive.
The Minister of Health said he is afraid that if people don’t take care of their health and live good lifestyles then health institutions will have to be built in every community. He hopes that this will never happen and people will change their lifestyles.
- by Ralph Banwarie