Couva Hospital has Provisions for NICU – Kamla

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Caption: UNC political leader arrives at the meeting at the Williamsville Secondary School on Monday evening. Photo: Facebook/UNC

By Prior Beharry

OPPOSITION Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar says there were provisions for a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the Couva Children’s Hospital.

She made the comment at the United National Congress (UNC) Cottage Meeting at the Williamsville Secondary School on Monday after Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh at a press conference earlier that day said there is no NICU at the Couva Hospital.

Persad-Bissessar at a news conference last Friday said that the lives of the neonatal babies who died at the Port of Spain General Hospital (POSGH) could have been saved had the People’s National Movement (PNM) government opened the Couva Children’s Hospital.

On Monday evening, Persad-Bissessar said, “They say I lying, they say there was no NICU. We built a whole $2billion Children’s Hospital and there is no NICU? You hear lie, that is another lie.

“We built it. The user brief… when we were building, it had at least six NICU cots to be made available at that hospital in the knowledge that additional capacity was needed in the country. 

“All infrastructure was put in place to allow for oxygen and other supplies together with a proper supply to make ventilation for neonates… newborn babies available. 

“It is a travesty and tragedy of the greatest proportions to suggest that this additional capacity in the health sector, were it made available to the people, would not have helped saved children’s lives.”

Deyalsingh said that deaths of babies at the POSGH NICU have been politicised.

He said the protest led by UNC activists on Saturday to call for the hospital to be opened caused the postponement of 20 cataract surgeries.

Deyalsingh said the hospital was a functioning one with a heart rehabilitation centre started there from November 2023 and with radiology equipment in use.

He said he had been informed by the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (UDeCOTT) that the Couva hospital does not contain a NICU but instead had a four-bed special unit intended for less urgent cases. 

Deyalsingh there was a special SCBU (Special Care Baby Unit) for less urgent cases.

He said from January 2023 to March 2024 there were 84 ultrasounds, 1,137 mammograms, 1,801 CT scans, 1,801, 883 MRIs, and 830 X-rays done at the at the facility.

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