Deyalsingh: Public health system overburdened

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh says the public health systems continue to be overburdened because in many instances, patients, including pregnant women, fail to take personal responsibility.

Speaking at a press conference held at the ministry’s office in Port-of-Spain yesterday Deyalsingh said too often when patients go to the public hospitals they fail to take important information including their blood work and in the case of pregnant women, their ultrasound copies.

Citing an example Deyalsingh said on Thursday he was speaking to an obstetrician in the public sector who told him that after spending close to 45 minutes with a pregnant patient it was learnt that the patient failed to walk with past ultra sound reports.

“We now have to do another ultra sound. So because persons don’t take some responsibility it clogs the system and this is multiplied over and over,” he added.

Saying it was difficult not to have any maternal deaths in any country Deyalsingh said in any country where there are 100,000 live births per year there should be more than 13 women dying in child birth.

“When you scale that down to Trinidad where you have about 17,000 to 18,000 live births per year it means we should not have more than four per year,” Deyalsingh said.

He said for this year to date there were three recorded deaths in the public sector and one in the private sector.

Compared to the same period last year, Deyalsingh said there were no more than “three or fours deaths.”

“All in the public sector have been due to patient factors not due to any fault of the public health system.

“The one in the private sector in under investigation,” the minister said.

Saying there was “no equity” in health care in this country, Deyalsingh said there were many factors which attributed to this including people who fell into the lower socio-economic strata which placed them at a disadvantage.

“When you look at maternal mortality rates most of the women who die in child birth come from the lower socio-economic backgrounds because they don’t appreciate or have access to anti-natal care.

“ Their health status predisposes them to complications in childbirth like diabetes and obesity,” Deyalsingh said.

Pressed that those from poor background ought to access an acceptable level of health care the minister said while public health care was always free it was, however, a “partnership” and urged people to be more conscious of their personal health.


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