HEALTH Minister Terrence Deyalsingh praised public sector health care workers for their tireless efforts to care for mothers and their newborn babies.
He did so after visiting new mothers and their babies at the neonatal ward of the San Fernando General Hospital on Sunday, January 1.
Deyalsingh said the first three babies born this year were all girls
The first baby girl was born at 12.01 am to Andrea Duncan in Tobago.
At 12.12 am, at Mt Hope Women’s Hospital of the North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA), Melissa Baker gave birth to her daughter.
At the Port of Spain hospital, under the North West Regional Health Authority, Denecia Huggins gave birth to her daughter.
Deyalsingh said all three mothers and their babies are doing well.
“We welcome them (babies) into our bosom of TT and hope that they have long and healthy lives.”
Four babies were born at the SFGH on Sunday.
Deyalsingh was thankful to health care workers for their ongoing efforts to reduce maternal mortality.
“For 2022, we would have had two maternal mortalities. One in the private sector. One in the public sector.”
The latter, he said was due to complications with covid19.
Outside of those two instances, Deyalsingh said 2022 was one of TT’s best years in reducing maternal mortality.
“It really is a milestone and it speaks volumes of what we can do.”
Asked what more could be done to improve maternal and infant health care in TT, Deyalsingh said, “It is difficult to improve it past what we have now. Though you will still have the occasional adverse event anywhere in the world.”
One focus for this year is improving neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) capabilities in the public health sector.
Deyalsingh said he has informed the CEOs’ of all RHA’s that in the 2023/2024 Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP) “we want to put money into that for the Mt Hope NICU, San Fernando NICU, Port of Spain NICU and Arima NICU.”
That funding will be used to upgrade the NICU facilities, equipment and training of personnel at all of those hospitals.
Deyalsingh disclosed that some medical specialists being sought from Cuba will have neonatal care expertise.
“We have requested from Cuba, pediatric nurses and NICU nurses.”
He was unable to say how many of these nurses will be coming to TT or when they will arrive here.
“We were in talks up to last week…the 28th (of December)…with our embassy in Cuba…with the Cuban authorities there to do just that.”
Asked about Venezuelan migrants accessing maternal care in TT, Deyalsingh said, “We always said that migrants of any nationality can access maternal care (in TT).”