There have been persistent reports about the impending closure of the Tobago Health Promotion Clinic (HPC), which is located in Calder Hall.
The clinic has been in operation for the last nine years since its opening in 2003 providing a convenient and comfortable service to persons living with the deadly HIV/Aids disease. The clinic was voted as the best Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) HIV Clinic Award in 2011.
"We were able to perform over 30 000 HIV tests and have been treating over 400 HIV persons living with the virus. As a result of our intervention, we were able to reduce Aids related deaths from 60 persons per year in 2003 to 4 persons per year in 2009," revealed one employee.
"New HIV cases were also reduced to just 2 per month until our budget was cut in 2009," the source added. According to the source, since the budgetary cuts, there have been a dramatic reverse in the HIV/Aids trends in Tobago with an increase in both new cases and also deaths over the recent months. "We have not been able to mount any prevention campaigns in the media," explained the source.
Contacted, Secretary for Health and Social Services Claudia Groome-Duke pointed out that closure of the HPC was part of a change in strategy of her Division to expand the HIV/Aids services to the health centres in several districts across the island. "It's all about using best practice throughout our health care delivery system," contended Groome-Duke.
The Division of Health and Social Services later issued a media release stating that the Tobago Health Promotion Clinic has been transferred to the mainstream of the Division of Health and Social Services.
"As we mainstream the "best practices approach" based on the successes and experiences of the Tobago Health Promotion Clinic within the Tobago Regional Health Authority, we are sustaining the integration of these services by deepening and expanding access and resources available to the delivery of care for persons living with HIV and AIDS as well as other communicable and non-communicable diseases, the release said. According to the release, services and programmes will continue uninterrupted at the Tobago Health Promotion Clinic.