During the onset of the Covid-19 Pandemic Trinidad and Tobago ranked as number one in a report published by the University of Oxford that assessed responses to COVID-19 based on four of the six WHO criteria for rolling back COVID-19 “lockdown” measures.
Leadership and Governance
Key mitigation and containment strategies implemented were evidence-informed and showed an “all-of-government” approach. The COVID-19 health system response showed that, although developing countries faced many health systems challenges, political will be evidence-informed decision-making; respect for science; and timely, coordinated, collaborative actions could strengthen the resilience and response of the health system during a health emergency.
Key mitigation and containment strategies reflected the “all-of-government” approach. These include data-driven, evidenced-informed decision-making and guidelines from the Ministry of Health; the provision of financial resources from the Ministry of Finance; border/immigration restrictions implemented by the Ministry of National Security remote work and pandemic leave policies prepared by the Ministry of Labour and Small Enterprise Development; the provision of social support services by the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services; and communications coordinated by the Ministry of Communications.
One of the early containment strategies implemented and communicated to the public was the establishment of a parallel health system, a separate system to manage and treat confirmed COVID-19 cases, independent of the routine public health system. This was of great use and benefit to all, as our public health service cares for nationals and non-nationals. Screening at points of entry at all health facilities, and COVID-suspected cases diagnosed, and managed via the parallel health system. The latter created independent and increased capacity within the healthcare system, while mitigating excess risk to the routine system, including patients and workers.
To mitigate the financial challenges experienced by persons who or experienced reduced income because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services (MSDFS) in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour and Small Enterprise Development (MOLSED), put various measures in place to support affected persons who are citizens or permanent residents of Trinidad and Tobago. These measures would have entailed:
- Income Support
- Food Support
- Rental Fee support
These measures would take effect if an individual experienced reduction in income for a period not exceedingly more than (3) months. The details of the measures are.
A family where a member loses his or her job or experienced reduced income; income support/food support/rental help for a period not exceeding three months will and where there are children under 18 years, these children will be necessitous, and the public help grant will be for a period not exceeding three months. The applicant must have experienced Reduced Income and where the reduced gross income (Minus Statutory Deduction) of the family does not exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000) per month.
Stated above social services by Trinidad and Tobago were in action. How effective were they in dealing with the pandemic? Very much so, as stated earlier in this document. How long will this last for? It is to be forecasted.
Contributor: Maurice Young