July 9, 2013

Welcome to Trinidad

Monica Jordan, 2013 GHLI Fellow   

On my second day in Trinidad I took a maxi taxi (public transport van) with the help of a friend, to get a local cell phone.  Having fractured my ankle 6 weeks earlier, navigating public transport and a foreign mall with crutches was daunting, to say the least. A few locals approached me and immediately seemed relieved that my accident didn’t happen here, least I have an unfavorable view of their country. They proceeded to tell me that if I can get around a foreign country on crutches, then I can do anything. Their positive attitude has been infectious, filling me with a resolve to assist my delegation in getting their project off the ground.

The project I am working on here stems from the growing burden of non-communicable chronic disease (NCDs) in Trinidad and Tobago.  While my work this summer will be based in Trinidad and Tobago, it is part of a regional collaboration to address NCDs in the entire Eastern Caribbean. I am focusing on the implementation of a pilot project of the electronic medical records system in the Southwest province of Trinidad.  Using software to capture data on chronic disease in the country, the Ministry of Health can then integrate the data into planning for strengthening primary health care for chronic disease. If the pilot project is successful, it will be implemented in the entire country, giving Trinidad and Tobago a comprehensive view of the burden of NCDs here.

Eventually I will make it to the more tourist destinations of this 2-island paradise such as the crystal waters of Tobago and the hatching turtles in Trinidad. But for now I am content in meeting new people and finding beauty in their warmth and hospitality.

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