Friday’s High Court ruling that the Ministry of Health breached its duties and awarded compensation to a six-year-old boy of Chaguanas with birth defects associated with the Zika virus is being hailed as a victory, however, the child’s mother, Kavita Ramkissoon-Ragoo, isn’t claiming any success as yet.
Commenting on the ruling, former Chief of Staff of the Mt Hope Women’s Hospital, president of the Zika Foundation, and the court’s sole appointed expert in the case, Dr Karen Sohan, told Guardian Media the ruling is a victory for all the babies born with complications from Zika in T&T.
“These children are now six to seven years old and many of them can’t walk, or talk, they have impairment of their hearing and vision. This will provide them with opportunities that give them a good quality of life. It’s also support for the parents,” she said.
“As you can imagine, a family who has a challenged child—it’s a very difficult situation and I think many of our families felt abandoned by the authorities and it’s time we come together and do good things for these children. I don’t think anybody in this country is going to mind if the state uses its resources to help look after these children.”
However, Ramkisson-Ragoo will only declare her efforts a success after measures are instituted to provide her son and others like him with the specialised treatment they need.
“It’s not a simple reward that’s one and done. Our Zika babies and, by extension, the cerebral palsy kids have a life-long condition that is incurable. They require many interventions, medication, special aid and stuff like that. That is really my main concern in standing up for all of these people,” she told Guardian Media.
“The greatest victory for me is to see what the Government does now for these children. I want to see equipment, I want to see the trained therapists—things that the children need. That I think would be even happier for me.”
She said the timing of the news could not have been better for her family as, on the very same day of the ruling, they were turned down by an insurance company for funding to take her son abroad for treatment.
Ramkisson-Ragoo’s son, Davyn, was born in February 2017 and diagnosed with Microcephaly Zika Syndrome due to the Zika virus.
Guardian Media sought comment on the matter from Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh, who is currently in Geneva, Switzerland for the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) 76th World Health Assembly.
However, he declined to speak on the matter until he returned to T&T and had time to read the judgment and speak with the legal team.