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Health scare for students at ministry launch

The trinidad Guardian / There was a health scare for some Mount Hope Secondary School students during the launch of an initiative on promoting behavioural change in children and adolescents yesterday, resulting in two of them being sent to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope, for treatment.

The initiative on the school’s Maingot Street, Champs Fleurs compound included screen testing and an afternoon of physical activity with the students and their teachers.

But during the screening exercise conducted by North Central Regional Health Authority around 10 am, medical staff determined that six students were suffering from high blood pressure. They were taken to the EWMSC where two of them were found to be “dangerously hypertensive” and kept at the facility.

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh, who arrived at the school around 12.30 to launch the initiative, said he was taken aback at what “the accidental screening had picked up” and has promised that when debate on the 2017-2018 Budget is completed he will visit other schools to do similar exercises.

He said there was a “time bomb waiting to explode in schools” as he expressed concern that “our children are overweight, suffering from diabetes, it is so scary.” He said this is why his ministry launched the Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) initiative and took a decision to eliminate sugary drinks and snacks from the school feeding programme.

There was no indication that the two students who were kept at the hospital were either overweight or diabetic, he said, adding he expects. to get a full report on the matter today.

Deyalsingh said he did not visit the children yesterday, however, adding: “When a minister goes to Accident and Emergency it slows things down, medical staff stop what they are doing because of protocol and it detracts from the urgency of the situation.”

Among those who attended yesterday’s initiative were 1976 Olympic gold medallist Hasely Crawford, who spoke to the more than 100 students and teachers about his own battle with diabetes and hypertension and current sports personalities Jehue Gordon, Richard Lewis, Machel Cedeno and former table tennis champion Lionel Darceau. Teachers and students participated in a range of sporting activities, including table tennis and aerobics.

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