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TRHA CEO: Tobago mortality rate lowest in nation
The Ministry of Health has confirmed that Tobago’s mortality rate is the lowest in the nation, Tobago Regional Health Authority (TRHA) chief executive officer, George Bell, said on Tuesday. He said the ministry’s statistics revealed that Tobago’s rate in 2008 was 1.8 per cent, while the Eastern Regional Health Authority (ERHA) was 2.4 per cent, Northwest Regional Health Authority (NWRHA) was 2.4, North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA) was five per cent and South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA) was 2.8 per cent. He further revealed that in 2009 TRHA’s rate was 2.2 per cent, ERHA was 2.7 per cent, NWRHA was 2.4 per cent, NCRHA was 5.2 per cent and SWRHA was 2.9 per cent.
Bell gave these statistics at the opening of the $.1 million Roxborough Health Centre’s walk-in service on Tuesday. He alluded to statements made by Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh at a sitting of the Joint Select Committee of Parliament last week Wednesday that he was afraid of getting sick in Tobago because he may die before getting to an aircraft. Gopeesingh had also claimed that some 21 out of 1,000 patients at the Scarborough Regional Hospital die, which was an alarmingly high rate and well above accepted world rates. But Bell stressed Tobago was certainly not a place to be afraid of when you were ill.
Chairman of TRHA, Keith Charles, later said the response time of the Emergency Health Services (EHS) was 14 minutes, while in Trinidad it was 31 minutes and the international standard was 20 minutes. The walk-in service will be open Mondays to Fridays from 8 am to 4 pm, catering for patients who need medical attention but do not have an appointment at the nearby health centre. In his feature address, Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Chief Secretary Orville London said the opening of the facility was part of a process which would enhance healthcare delivery in the island. He said an area the division of health and social services and the TRHA had done well was the provision of facilities.
London said where provision of services was concerned, Tobago’s 55,000 people were better served than any land mass in the region and defied anybody to challenge that. He said there were four outreach centres and 17 health centres, two of which were top class and could be considered hospitals in some parts of the region. He said the success of the facility depended on the quality of the service provided. London also urged Tobagonians to challenge the health system. London said there was an aspect of the health centre which was under-rated on how to inform and sensitise the public.
He lamented that people in Tobago were not taking care of their health. “Too many of us are losing our legs. Too many of us suffer from hypertension, too many of us (with all due respect) are too fat and too many of us are playing with our lives. “I want to see more people exercising in a health centre than coming to get hypertension medicine. I want to see more people coming to get diet sheets than to get things for diabetes,” he added. London said every individual who worked for the assembly must be subjected to criticism and scrutiny by the people of Tobago. He urged Tobagonians not to generalise or use headlines to judge categories of workers.
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