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Henry Awong says the Corporation cannot continue for much longer with such a senior position on the Council remaining vacant

Chairman of the Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation (CTTRC), Henry Awong, has confirmed that the Corporation is without a Principal Medical and Health Officer…

And he is urging the Local Government Minister to sort out the situation quickly, since the post is a very senior one.

Guardian Media spoke with Mr Awong on Friday morning as he was about to enter the CTTRC’s offices at Railway Road, Couva, who expressed concern that the post be filled as soon as possible, in light of the current global coronavirus threat.

Mr. Awong revealed that the contract of the last doctor expired a month ago and the Ministry of Rural Development and Local Government has failed to appoint a new one. He says they do not have the funding to take on someone on a short term contract, while the ministry fills the vacancy.

He told us the Corporation’s operations are being hampered, as a result, since the doctor is the head of the Public Health Department.

“The main function of the doctor is to advise the Council on issues regarding public health,” he explained. “Without the doctor, the Council is without information as to the status of public health within the region, and how we can take preventative measures to address any public health issues within the region.”

Awong said the contract of the last doctor expired a month ago and the Ministry of Local Government has failed to appoint a new doctor. Awong said this is most worrisome, since he fears that the corona virus may hit Trinidad and Tobago sooner than later.

The CTTRC chairman warns that the health of specialist workers in the Corporation—who function in risky jobs and dangerous situations—also is at stake because there is no medical professional there to monitor them.

“The cesspool emptiers, they have to get their annual check-up. There are workers working as rodent control evaluators—who’re dealing with rats and mice and so on—they have to get their annual check-up, also. Workers who work in the drains, cleaning drains and so on—and you know these drains sometimes have cesspit water and so on running through some of these drains.”

Mr Awong says the Corporation cannot borrow a doctor from another regional corporation, the way they would request heavy equipment, in times of disaster.