T&T: National Public Health Laboratory coming says Health Minister

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh believes the time has come to “start a conversation to a new paradigm to have a voluntary blood donation system,” in this country, which will put an end to the trauma which families undergo when they have to find persons to give blood required for surgical procedures.

The minister raised the issue as he spoke at yesterday’s post-Cabinet news conference at the Magdalena Grand Resort in Tobago, where he announced that Cabinet had taken what he described as the “brave and bold decision to operationalise the United Nations Report of 2013,” which he said “recommended the establishment of a National Public Health Laboratory system for Trinidad and Tobago.”

Deyalsingh said the facility would be “state-of-the art,” and would incorporate all the current regulatory agencies including CARPHA, the Chemistry and Food and Drugs Division and the National Blood Transfusion system.

It will be constructed on nine acres of land in Valsayn near the UTT training facility, but he could give no cost or timeframe for the facility saying they will now go out for tender for “consultancy services for design and so on.”

Deyalsingh said the new facility will “enhance the country’s response to public health issues,” and will significantly enhance the regulatory capabilities which the Chemistry and Food and Drug Division have to manage.

Operations at the Food and Drugs Division have been hampered in the past several months because of problems at the facility.

But the minister was “particularly happy that the National Blood Transfusion Service will finally get a proper home,” saying “the current facilities are outdated.”

Responding to reporters’ questions about the priority being given to the facility when there are public concerns about a shortage of beds at the nations’ hospitals, Deyalsingh spoke of a medium- to long-term plan to address concerned about bed shortages at Hospitals.

He said the Point Fortin hospital will add an additional one hundred beds and the Arima Hospital will add one hundred and fifty beds to the existing complement.

In addition he said: “we have just finished the user brief for a Hospital in Sangre Grande.”

Health he said “ is not just physical structures, you also need the underlying support agencies to do diagnostic and public health work.

“It is not a sexy thing but I cannot emphasise how important it is to mount a public health response especially when it comes to the National Blood Transfusion Service.”

He said as it stands now if citizens have to undergo surgery, the health officials “tell you go and find blood donors.”

That system he said is unfair to already “traumatised patients and their families,” who must now go out and find donors and sometimes “having to pay persons to give blood, we need a system so that citizens are not traumatised to find blood.”

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