The Ministry of Health is the national authority charged with oversight of the entire health system in Trinidad and Tobago. The Ministry plays a central role in the protection of the population’s health and in ensuring that all organisations and institutions that produce health goods and services conform to standards of safety.
The Ministry of Health is a people-centred, caring, proactive institution that assures standards of excellence are achieved by all stakeholders that promote, protect and improve the health status of the people of Trinidad and Tobago.
Our mission is to provide effective leadership for the health sector by focusing on evidence-based policy making; planning; monitoring; evaluation; collaboration and regulation. The Ministry of Health establishes national priorities for health and ensures an enabling environment for the delivery of a broad range of high quality, people-centred services from a mix of public and private providers.
Our Core Values
The critical values required to ensure accomplishment and fulfillment of our Vision and Mission are:
We will ensure the most efficient and effective delivery of health services by trained and competent health personnel.
- Total Quality
Commitment to excellence in our health care systems and all services.
We emphasize the delivery of health services that are responsive to consumer needs and preferences.
Relying upon research and information-driven decision-making at all levels.
Providing proactive leadership to the sector.
How we Work
Responsibility for the provision of health care services in Trinidad and Tobago was devolved from the Ministry of Health to Regional Health Authorities (RHAs) with the passing of the Regional Health Authorities Act No. 5 in 1994. RHAs are autonomous bodies that own and operate health facilities in their respective Regions. Today, five (5) RHAs deliver public health care services to the population of Trinidad and Tobago. They are: North West Regional Health Authority (NWRHA); North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA); South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA); Eastern Regional Health Authority (ERHA) and Tobago Regional Health Authority (TRHA).
While the Ministry of Health does not directly run health facilities, it is required to play a key role in ensuring that they are properly run, by setting policies, goals and targets for Regions based on assessment of real health needs. This is the main role of the Ministry of Health. The Ministry also allocates resources to the RHAs to finance their operations.
Improving Health Care Management
The Ministry of Health is firmly dedicated to continuously improving public health by ramping its resources to meet health care needs. We have successfully effected significant improvements in the management and delivery of Emergency Services. We have also adopted a comprehensive and strategic approach towards the development of human resources for the health sector. Further, we will ensure that there is synergy and accountability through the institutional strengthening of the Regional Health Authorities and our Vertical Services.
Meeting the Tertiary Care Needs of Society’s Vulnerable
The Ministry of Health stands committed to meet the tertiary care needs of our society’s most vulnerable. Some of the ways through which we are achieving this objective are:
- The Children’s Life Fund: This special fund is designed to provide finance for life-saving surgeries for our nation’s precious children and was launched in 2010.
- The expansion of the Financial Assistance to the Necessitous Patients Programme or Medical Aid Programme: This programme provides financial assistance to citizens who require life-saving medical treatment, which is unavailable locally.
- Adult Cardiac Surgery Programme: more details needed
Supporting patients’ rights and services through health quality standards, policies and legislation
The Ministry of Health fully endorses and subscribes to the WHO’s Charter of Patients’ Rights and Obligations. A Customer Service Implementation Unit was commissioned in 2010 to aid in the improvement of treatment to citizens. Additionally, our senior citizens are assured of the respect they deserve and are given preferred treatment at all public health institutions and pharmacies.
The legislative agenda of the Ministry of Health for 2010 includes:
- Preparation of Regulations for the 2009 Tobacco Control Act
- Finalisation of the Mental Health Bill
- Preparation of a National Blood Transfusion Bill
- Finalisation of the National health Services Accreditation Bill
- Regional Health Authorities (Amendment) Act 2010
- Regional Health Authorities (Collective Procurement of Goods and Services) Regulations 2010
Improvement of the physical infrastructure of public health care facilities.
The physical infrastructure of all public health facilities is being upgraded to ensure that they are fully capable facilitating first class health care for citizens.
Reducing the prevalence of communicable diseases, including HIV/AIDS
Addressing Chronic Diseases and Mental Health
The promotion of primary health care is the Ministry’s main strategy to deal with the scourge of chronic disease in Trinidad and Tobago. We have been placing particular emphasis on wellness and health promotion to promote healthier lifestyles and self-empowerment among citizens.
Mental health care
The HR Factor
The Health Sector in Trinidad and Tobago has been experiencing shortages and challenges with the supply of medical and allied professionals. The Ministry of Health has adopted a comprehensive and strategic approach towards the development of human resources for the health sector, which involves attracting foreign based nationals who may be considering returning home.