$157M for Regional Health Authorities to aid COVID-19 response
Photo: Healthcare workers carry out drills at the Caura Hospital. Photo courtesy the NCRHA.
Government said TT$157 million will be allocated to the Regional Health Authorities to help with the response to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said during a post-Cabinet briefing on Thursday that the money will be distributed to the RHAs to assist with their COVID-19 preparation and response.
Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said the money would be allocated based on the requirements of each facility, with the 'lion's share' going to the North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA), which is responsible for the Caura Hospital, where several COVID-19 positive patients are receiving treatment.
He said the monies would go toward the purchase of personal protection equipment (PPE), equipment, for example ventilators, staffing, infrastructure, for example, isolation rooms.
He added that funding toward the ERHA would also go toward the cost of the Balandra quarantine facility, which costs around $84,000 per month.
Deyalsingh said the RHAs would receive funds as follows:
- Eastern Regional Health Authority (ERHA), $6.2 million
- North West Regional Health Authority (NWRHA), $16.6 million
- South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA), $4.5 million
- North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA), $129.9 million.
He said the process should take between three to six months.
He added that the Arima Hospital is also ready for use and the Point Fortin Hospital is being prepared in case it is needed 'just as primary care facility'.
Deyalsingh said they received 4,000 COVID-19 test kits from China as a gift and will also be purchasing an additional 15,000 kits from them.
Government issued a crackdown on non-essential services, effective from 12.01 Monday morning, in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus.
Essential services such as utilities, supermarkets, fuel, pharmacies and other services will remain open.
Government said they will issue a list of essential services which will remain active on Friday.
As of March 26, 2020, at 5.00 pm, Trinidad and Tobago recorded 65 positive cases and one death as a result of COVID-19.