‘Topping Off’ for new Children’s Hospital
By Cecily Asson Tuesday, August 5 2014
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CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL: Looking on from left are Housing Minister, Dr. Roodal Moonilal, PM Kamla Persad-Bissessar, and Chinese workers at the final concr...
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar did not take questions from the media yesterday after witnessing the final concrete pour for the official “Topping Off” ceremony for the Couva Children’s Hospital..
“I will not be taking questions - you have enough news,” she told reporters as she moved along the construction site greeting scores of officials and workers from various agencies.
Persad-Bissessar was the feature speaker at the ceremony which in building construction has been explained as a tradition in which topping out (sometimes referred to as topping off) is a builders’ rite held when the last beam (or its equivalent) is placed atop a structure during its erection. It has also been explained that “nowadays the ceremony is often parlayed into a media event for public relations purposes.”
But while she did not entertain questions from the media, she did however, early in her speech, inform the audience of what had transpired at yesterday’s Parliament sitting. Persad-Bissessar said, “We had promised in 2010 that we would deliver, and we were in Parliament today seeking to keep promises that we made in the same way we are here today to take further into progress a promise that we made. She went on to speak of 2014 Constitution Reform Bill that was laid in Parliament and the three areas - fixed term limits for a prime minister, right of recall, and run off ballot. She continued, “Those promises we seek to keep, and others, as we have kept promises before, and so this afternoon as we are here for this topping off ceremony at the children’s hospital at the construction site, I also see this here as our keeping our promises”
The multi-million-dollar children’s hospital which is being constructed on 60 acres of land at Couva Main Road, Preysal in Couva, is poised to become the first digitalized hospital in the Caribbean and Central America, Persad-Bissessar stated in her address.
“Digital healthcare is a key element in the implementation of a Health Information Management System (HIMS), which will properly identify every patient interfacing with health care services, leading to improved service delivery to the people of Trinidad and Tobago,” Persad-Bissessar told the audience, which included her members of Cabinet.
With the completion of the children’s hospital, sick children in Trinidad and Tobago will have specialist treatment, and a better chance to live full and healthier lives.
“I assure you,” she continued, “the project goes beyond the size of the institution, and the modern equipment with which it will be outfitted.”
Persad-Bssessar also promised a comprehensive set of services, including specialized care will be offered at the hospital. To ensure this happens, government has agreed to offer 245 scholarships to citizens of Trinidad and Tobago over the period 2014-2018 to pursue studies leading to the post-graduate degree in the specialist areas in medicine.
Among the specialised areas are adult and a paediatric intensive care, cardiac surgery, radiology , plastic and burns sugery, paediatric cardiology neurosurgery, and urology.
“It is our aim to ensure that the country’s best and brightest are given incentives to stay in Trinidad and Tobago and contribute to improving our health system for all citizens of this nation,” she added. The 216-bed facility will also cater for adults, and will see a burns unit.
She went on to urge Health Minister, Dr Fuad Khan, not to wait until the hospital is completed to look for staff, but to begin now. She also called on Khan and Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal to build an access road from the Solomon Hoclwy Highway to the hospital.
“The completion of this facility will see many of our nation’s children who require specialised medical care, no longer having to experience stress and trauma of air travel while sick.”
Among those seated in the audience was UDECOTT Managing Director, Jerlean John.
Also delivering remarks at yesterday’s event was Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China Huang Xingwang.
Persad-Bissessar was in high praise of the work being done by contractors Shanghai Construction.