Don't leave, Dr Ferguson
THE EDITOR, Sir: This is an open letter to Dr Fenton Ferguson, the minister of health.
I will not join with others and call for your resignation. This is because I believe that you may be in a very good position to prepare the country with a prevention and eradication strategy for Ebola. This is, of course, unlike what happened with chik-V. For this reason, the ministry may find the opportunity to redeem itself in the eyes of the Jamaican people whom you serve.
If I may humbly put a suggestion to you, sir, do all you can to follow through. You know, or someone in your ministry does, what is an AAR (after action review). Usually this is carried out at the end of the implementation of a project. My recommendation is that you draft a team of critical personnel and carry out a partial AAR of the ministry's handling of the current outbreak of the chik-V, as we have enough useful data thus far to gather and use as critical intelligence.
Some of these persons may be the acting permanent secretary of the Ministry of Health, president of the doctors' associations, the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica, local government, Airports Authority, the Church, the media, the NGO, etc. (as necessary). This review should, among others, include an assessment of the elements involved such as preparation of the nation; communications with, and role of, stakeholders and the nation; the people's response, prevention and eradication strategy development; funds security, etc.
In assessing the mentioned areas, may I suggest the following questions be answered: What was done, why, when, where, who and, most important, the 'so what' question, which seeks to address its impact. So what did that accomplish?
May I suggest that you may find yourself in a very good position to see where we are at or what we are missing in preparing the country to deal with the prevention and eradication of an Ebola outbreak. This may sound like a textbook strategy, but I assure you that it is not. We all know that Ebola is much more serious than chik-V and that the process for prevention and eradication is vastly different ... what I am saying is that the process outlined here may help to inform the approach to this very serious, potentially damning ... but not impossible situation.
It may be a good idea to not only suggest, but to implement, travel restrictions in and out of Jamaica and in transit passengers to/from the affected area in Africa until this thing gets under control. We must be in a position as leaders to take the hard decisions to safeguard our people, even if from themselves. No reason for travel to the affected area at this time is worth the life of a nation.