SHCA briefed about Trinidad and Tobago Expanded Program on Immunization Operations

SHCA briefed about Trinidad and Tobago Expanded Program on Immunization Operations

Sector Health Care Affairs was briefed by Gerald Peters, the National Epidemiologist from Trinidad and Tobago. Peters discussed the current expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) operations, including the epidemiology situation in the Dual Island Nation, rich in Natural Gas and Oil, located just above South America.

Present at the meeting were Sector Director, drs. Jorien Wuite, and Preventive Health Department Head dr. Rachel Eersel, and members of the Sections: Policy, Epidemiology & Prevention and Youth Health Care, along with other divisions of the Sector.

Dr. Eersel explained that Peters was here on invitation. Mr. Petersâ?? presentation is intended to give a brief description of the current EPI situation in Trinidad and Tobago and to have a discussion on this topic with the staff of Sector Health Care Affairs.

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This presentation was of importance to the section Youth Health Care because this section has the responsibility for the supervision of the Expanded Program on Immunization in St. Maarten. It is also of importance to the section Policy, Epidemiology & Prevention because this section has the responsibility for the surveillance of vaccine-preventable diseases.

Later on in the week, Peters will also give a presentation on the Food Safety and Environmental Health situation in Trinidad & Tobago.

Mr. Peters explained about the current EPI situation in Trinidad, explaining its complexities, its challenges, its successes.

"Trinidad & Tobago," Peters said, "is second only to the varied culture country of the United States, though debatable he said, and has 1.3 million people, consisting of 50% East Indians, 40% Africans, and 10% others. Its Public Health system is free, and has 1440 general practitioners."

The main laws and legislation in relation to the topic are that the children must be properly vaccinated before entering school; (school) principals would be charged if they entered children who are not fully vaccinated; private doctors are given free vaccinations in return for information.

Peters then proceeded to discuss some pivotal points, namely that the last polio case was in 1972; in 1979 was the last outbreak of yellow fever; that there are 1440 general practitioners; 40% of Health Care is delivered by the private sector.

He added that Health Care is no longer an issue only for Departments or Institutions of Health, but that of social and educational institutionsâ??theyâ??re all interconnected he said.

Peters continued with pointing out some of the challenges facing the EPI program are cultural/religious beliefs; shortage of Public Health nurses, who are highly trained and therefore recruited by the United States and Great Britain; delinquency of some parents, and violence in some areas.