AFETT - Host to 22 Spelman College Medical Students
Health Minister Meets with Visiting Spelman Medical Students
The Honourable Terrence Deyalsingh, Minister of Health, recently fielded some questions about our local health sector from five aspiring, young doctors from Spelman College. The Association of Female Executives of Trinidad and Tobago (AFETT) hosted 22 students during their two-week visit as part of the Spelman College Overseas Programme. The young, medical students attended the meeting in the Minister’s office with their advisor, Dr. Rosalind C. Gregory-Bass, Director of the Health Careers Programmes of Spelman College. AFETT President, Tricia Leid, accompanied them. The Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Roshan Parasram, also joined the Honourable Minister to answer the students’ questions on topics like diabetes, hypertension, infant mortality and HIV/AIDS in this country.
One student, who is presently doing research on HIV/AIDS, asked the Minister if the improved quality of HIV drugs available has shown a decrease in cases being reported in recent years. The Minister stated that in the 1980s during the worldwide AIDS scare, many young adults today were not yet born. Nowadays, their lack of knowledge of the implications can, therefore, lead to more risky behaviour.
Another important topic raised by a student was that of infant mortality in Trinidad and Tobago. The Minister advised that whereas challenges had been faced in the past at public institutions, we have since met the international antenatal care goals. For every 18,000 births, there should be no more than three deaths, and for 2017, no deaths have been reported for new-borns at the hospitals.
The Minister gave an overview of the local, public healthcare system, explaining that health care is primarily free, but taxed through the National Health Insurance.
The Minister concluded the meeting by reiterating that managing the Ministry of Health under a majority free public health care system during a recession, is one of the biggest challenges.
This is the second visit to Trinidad made by students of the Spelman College Overseas Programme. Their first was in 2015, when AFETT facilitated a group of business students at different organisations throughout Trinidad, such as COSTAATT, NIPDEC, the United Nations and Ms. Brafit, to name a few.
Ms. Tricia Leid thanked the Minister and the Chief Medical Officer for their time. AFETT appreciated their facilitation of this information session. The Minister was pleased to learn that all 22 students would be visiting the St. James Health Care Facility, the San Fernando Teaching College, and the Port of Spain General Hospital during their visit.
The Association of Female Executives of Trinidad and Tobago prides itself in collaborating with groups that also see the importance of building up women and advocating and providing opportunities for increased growth and development. During the meeting, Dr. Bass introduced Spelman College, explaining that the school is a women’s college founded in 1881 as the Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary. It became Spelman College in 1924. They are now considered a global leader in the education of women of African descent.