The sum of all fears has been revealed by the Covid-19 Management Committee. The 105-page report is a damning indictment on the leadership of Minister Deyalsingh as the Minister of Health. Over 3,500 citizens have been lost to Covid-19.
Should the Committee be allowed to continue its assessment and allowed an expanded scope of investigation, policies on testing and the procuring of vaccines and therapeutics, should be assessed. The question must now be asked, “Why Professor Seemungal and his distinguished Committee were not the primary advisors to the Government, since the start of the Pandemic?”
The Committee’s Report tells of staff shortages being “common”, of doctors and nurses having to perform “non-medical functions”, and of overwork “to the point of exhaustion.” Poor working conditions were highlighted, with nurses being made to perform “long hours in PPE.” The UNC has consistently called for additional nursing and medical staff to be hired, in order to release the stress placed on our nurses and doctors combating Covid-19.
Short-term locum contracts have resulted in “great uncertainty and low morale among our young doctors,” and is sadly a confirmation of earlier UNC revelations of major human resource infractions. The fact that, a single nurse was assigned to as many as 30 patients speaks of a systemic failure to provide adequate nursing resources.
The lack of foresight to order adequate quantities of Tocilizumab is yet another indictment on the judgement of Minister Deyalsingh. Doctors had to also cope with shortages of midazolam, methylprednisolone and propofol. Dexamethasone was used in instances where methylprednisolone was indicated.
Minister Deyalsingh has also failed to combat the high rate of Non-Communicable Diseases in the population. The Kamla Persad-Bissessar Administration undertook vigorous Public Education Campaigns, that promoted lifestyle changes, healthy foods, regular exercise and the dangers of alcohol and tobacco use. The suggestion that there be a “Vision and Mission Statement” for the Ministry indicates that Minister Deyalsingh led in a haphazard manner. I commend Professor Seemungal’s Committee for its patriotic duty, and I strongly urge the Government to implement its 16 recommendations with the greatest haste and urgency.