Trinidad and Tobago: NCRHA expands their Great Pap smear Initiative
Trinidad and Tobago: NCRHA expands their Great Pap smear Initiative || Picture Courtesy: NCRHA

Trinidad and Tobago: The North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA), earlier this week, organised the 4th instalment of its Great Pap smear Initiative in December 2022. This instalment was distinct, as the NCRHA launched its Mobile Outreach Programme, a Pap smear Initiative developed arm.

Mrs Sharon Rowley, the wife of the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago and representative of the Executive Body: Spouses of CARICOM Leaders Action Network (SCLAN), was on site for the launch and supported the initiative. Mrs Rowley added that this is just one of the women’s issues that SCLAN will be partnering to engage with throughout the Caribbean.

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Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh also expressed his keen support for the introduction of the mobile service, adding that he was encouraged by the initiative as it was in keeping with the Ministry of Heath’s current thrust to promote preventative care as well as empower citizens of the country to take proactive roles in maintaining healthy lifestyles.

The programme, which commenced in 2018, catered to all women within the childbearing age demographic and was designed with working women in mind, particularly those who may have difficulty accessing such healthcare services during the normal Monday – Friday work week. This instalment, hosted in the festive Christmas season, saw two hundred and sixty-three (263) women gifted free Pap smears, as well as other services such as dental, ophthalmology, counselling as well as medical consultations at the Mt Hope Women’s Centre.

Primary Health Care General Manager, Dr Abdul Hamid, shared that they observed that the number of examinations performed per year fell grossly beneath expected throughput numbers. This was of great concern to healthcare professionals since annual examinations are encouraged to ensure early detection of possible malignancies. Subsequent to these findings, an aggressive health promotion programme was rolled out to impel women to get their Pap smears done.

Chief Executive Officer Mr Davlin Thomas intimated that the NCRHA would continue to engage in innovative initiatives to grow the quality of healthcare services in the region.

“Our Pap Smear Initiative forms part of our strategic intention to engage the high incidence of NCDs in our society through our outreach programmes and create opportunities where we can identify any potential risks from the early onset and subsequently provide the necessary intervention to empower individuals to manage their health effectively,” CEO stated, adding, “Programmes such as this, our Men’s Wellness Clinic, our Children’s Wellness clinic, and Walk-The-Talk, among others, have proven to be very successful. December’s Pap Smear Initiative is a testament to that has hundreds of women visiting our facilities for early screening with each undertaking. For the year 2022, we have seen a 400% increase in Pap smear examinations between 2016 and 2022; that’s 400% more women have access to lifesaving screenings. The implications are tremendous.”

In addition to clinical services, attendees were also treated to entertainment by a few special guests to ensure that their stay was both engaging and enjoyable. Some of the performers included: the Amritam Shakti Dance. The company, North-West Laventille Cultural Movement, Alicia Jagessar and Los Alumnos de San Juan, Marion Williams and Nichard M.

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