Opposition senator wants investigation into discrepancies surrounding the NICU at Couva children’s hospital

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Opposition senator wants investigation into discrepancies surrounding the NICU at Couva children’s hospital

Opposition senator Jearlean John has slammed Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh for saying the UDeCOTT video was “aspirational”.

At a news conference at the UNC’s headquarters in Cha­guanas yesterday, John said it was not artificial intelligence (AI) and it is real.

At a news conference on Monday, Deyalsingh said that contrary to what the Opposition Leader has said, he was informed by UDeCOTT that there is no NICU at the Couva hospital.

The Opposition then released a video created by UDeCOTT back in 2015 which showed the layout of the hospital, the equipment and the paediatric areas, which included the NICU.

The Health Ministry yesterday issued a release saying the video in circulation is “fake” as it carries inaccurate and untrue information about the Couva hospital.
The ministry said the project scope for the facility did not include a NICU and, in fact, it was a four-bed Special Baby Care Unit (SBCU) with incubators, which is used for less urgent cases, that was set up at the facility.

John said Deyalsingh has no shame and is using this issue as a distraction from the horrific deaths of babies at the Port of Spain General Hospital (PoSGH).

She said the Couva hospital was commissioned on August 14, 2014, and this marked the end of the phase of construction and outfitting.

She said the South-West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA), which Dr Lackram Bodoe then headed, was tasked to operationalise the hospital in four months.

Noting there are 80 beds for children, John said these are 80 more than what currently exists in the face of a health sector that is lacking.

“I assure you the videotape is a true representation of the Couva children’s hospital,” she added.

John said all the information and equipment that was seen in the video was at that time in place and available.

Deyalsingh was not telling the truth about the hospital, she said, asking: “This is an expensive piece of infrastructure, why did you have to dismantle it?”

She said she learnt that some beds were sent to Caura Hospital.

“I call for a thorough investigation into the discrepancies surrounding the NICU at the Couva children’s hospital, urging authorities to uncover the truth and hold accountable those responsible for any mismanagement or negligence,” she said.

John further called on members of the media to speak out as she noted several were also present and had toured the facility.