From Past to Present: 100 Years of Public Health Practice in Trinidad

Document Type: Original Article


University of the West Indies


The aim of this study is to map the chronological achievements of public health over the past 100 years in a small island state and to outline emerging themes.A retrospective analysis of data was conducted from the published population and vital statistics reports of the Central Statistical Office for the period of 1953-2006, as well as all available published reports of the Ministry of Health. Data were also collected from the published reports of the Registrar General for the period of 1944-52.The study demonstrated the sequence in which diseases of public health importance were eliminated; these included hookworm, smallpox, malaria, cholera, typhoid, yellow fever and the vaccine preventable diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, poliomyelitis, diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. In addition, for the first time the mumps epidemic of 2000-2003 was identified.While much has been achieved over the past 100 years particularly with regard to infectious diseases, many challenges stand ahead. Hence, a highly trained and skilled PH workforce is required to confront a changing healthcare landscape, epidemics, rising expectations from clients, as well as to tackle key determinants of health.