Following the recent theft of COVID-19 vaccines from the Couva District Health Facility, the Member of Parliament for Caroni East is calling on Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh to ensure security is tightened up at medical institutions.
In an official statement, Dr Rishad Seecheran, who is the Opposition’s Shadow Minister for Health, says Minister Deyalsingh must let the public know how extensive this latest theft was.
“No mention was made of the quantity nor the types of Vaccines that have been lost by the Ministry of Health,” the Caroni East MP observes.
“Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh must tell the nation what specific security measures are being enforced to prevent the loss of more medical supplies, after Covid-19 Vaccines have gone missing from Couva District Health Facility,” he added.
He also is concerned that the stolen vaccines may be given to unsuspecting members of the public.
“Strenuous efforts must be made to inform the public that these vaccines have to be stored at manufacturer recommended temperatures and the use of these vaccines must be strongly discouraged, for the safety of the public,” he urges.
Dr Seecheran points out that this most recent theft, “follows similar incidents with respect to taxpayer-funded medical supplies at public health institutions”.
“In July 2021, $2.5 million worth of drugs were stolen from a storeroom of the pharmacy of St. James Medical Complex. Some of the drugs were eventually recovered, but they had to be discarded after inspection,” he said.
He noted: “Over the years, there have been several other occurrences of patient medicines and supplies being stolen from health facilities, which is an indication that security measures have not been improved.”
According to the Caroni East MP, it is “unacceptable” that more stringent security measures have not been put in place, especially since the theft earlier this year, given that “the drugs and other provisions are paid for by scarce public money, and the Health Ministry is generally underfunded.”
“Minister Deyalsingh must urgently ensure that security measures are enhanced, and he must provide such firm assurances to the people of Trinidad and Tobago. Failure to do so would reveal the Government’s recklessness with taxpayers’ funds and people’s health,” Dr Seecheran said.