Viral illnesses and asthma were the main ailments among some 100 residents who received medical treatment yesterday from a team of Indian medical doctors in Diego Martin.
A team of some 17 doctors from the Forum of Indian Nationals of Trinidad and Tobago (FINTT) led by surgeon Dr Sudhakar Reddy set up camp at the Diego Martin Boys' RC School yesterday to attend to residents who may have fallen ill as a result of the devastating flooding in the area on August 11.
FINTT, in collaboration with the Red Cross and the North West Regional Health Authority (NWRHA), set up the camp at 7 a.m. and treated residents until 2 p.m.
The Express visited the school where persons were trickling in one by one to receive medical attention.
Reddy said those who came were treated for viral diseases, coughs, sore throat, back pains and a number of children were treated for asthma-related ailments.
Dr Meera Sheikh, FINTT secretary for public relations and charity, told the Express that dust left behind from the severe flooding would have been the main cause of respiratory problems.
He said FINTT had held five camps previously at Cedros, La Horquetta, Carenage, Gasparillo and Mt Hope and over 500 were treated at each of those camps.
He said the Red Cross had mobilised a number of people yesterday to visit the camp and also provided transport to persons living in hilly regions.
He said the NWRHA provided the medication and a number of people came to get their prescriptions for hypertension and diabetes medication filled as they complained the health centre had run out of supplies.
Reddy said that FINTT comprises a team of approximately 100 doctors who are specialised in various fields.
He said FINTT was established in September last year after a group of doctors decided to give back to Trinidad and Tobago.
"We had said that this country is giving us a job, giving us our bread and butter, we should help and give back and so the organisation was started. We not only have doctors but also Indian nationals such as paramedics, engineers, bank officers all part of the group," said Reddy.
He said Bhagwansingh's hardware was FINTT's main financier and assisted in purchasing equipment including ultrasound and ECG machines.
Chairman of the Diego Martin Regional Corporation, Anthony Sammy, told the Express by phone that the turnout would have been greater had the camp visit of FINTT been advertised.
However, he applauded the efforts of the medical team and the Health Ministry, saying that this was something that should come into effect immediately should another disaster occur.
With respect to the dust problem in Diego Martin and environs, Sammy said teams from the corporation were deployed to clear debris and rubble and efforts were now in place to deposit all of this straight to the Beetham dump.
"We have been working feverishly into the night and have set up lighting bays to continue works," said Sammy.
He said the streets were being washed and he also commended health officials for moving quickly to have the area sprayed.
In a statement, Sammy clarified that the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) operations were continuing and every effort was being made to ensure that affected citizens get the help they needed.
"Mr Sammy would like to reiterate that extensive disaster relief efforts are taking place round the clock. He says the EOC will only be disbanded based on the needs of affected residents and even when this is done the other entities will continue to operate independently to assist with recovery efforts," stated the release.