Josh Lalla is 9 years old and lives at Gasparillo with his parents Jerry Lalla and Beth Lowhoy. Josh attends the Pediatric Cardiology Clinic at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex. Josh has complex cyanotic congenital heart disease and needs emergency heart surgery that is not available in Trinidad to correct this congenital heart defect. Due to this condition, Josh has a history of blue spells and poor growth. Chavlon Gray, at 22 months old, lives with his family at Crown Point in Tobago and was diagnosed with a congenital heart disease condition, Tetralogy of Fallot, and has been accepted at the Miami Children’s Hospital, USA. Josh and Chavlon are two of the children we have assisted through the Children Life Fund.
The Children's Life Fund was created to provide funding and critical support specifically for children needing life saving, tertiary-level health care services. This Fund was launched in August 2010 by the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago who stated during her address to the UN General Assembly 2010 : “It is our belief that children must not die in the dawn of life in my country - or in any other country - because they cannot afford health care. There must be new arrangements and relationships between countries that have advanced medical technology and those without so that children and vulnerable groups of the poorest nations can grow as healthy human beings and achieve their full potential. It is only when this is done that the world will progress. We have a duty to the future. It will be measured by how we fulfill our responsibilities today.” Recognizing the need to help more children, the Government and by extension the Ministry of Health is working feverishly to attract contributors to the Life Fund. Our goal is to raise $100 million in the Life Fund geared towards helping families with children in need of life-saving surgeries. That fund is to be administered by an independent board. Private sector incentives will also be established to encourage contributions to the LIFE Fund and partnership arrangements involving foreign specialist hospitals, aimed at increasing knowledge and technology in the local health sector, are to be established.
Under the Life Fund, in the last three and a half months, we have helped 6 children to have life-saving surgery abroad that could not be performed locally, at an investment of 1.5 Million Dollars.
L-R: Beth Lowhoy, Josh Lalla and Jerry Lalla, Permanent Secretary Sandra P. Jones,
Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Surujrattan Rambachan and Minister of Health Therese Baptise-Cornelis
Minister of Health Senator the Honourable Therese Baptiste-Cornelis presents cheque to Charles Gray.
Looking on are Ms Sandra Jones Permanent Secretary & Dr Anton Cumberbatch Chief Medical Officer