Sat | Feb 25, 2017

Civil servants failed on chik-V, too

Published:Monday | March 2, 2015 | 11:04 PMHelene Clarke

THE EDITOR, Sir:

I notice that much of the public criticism of the bad management of the chikungunya epidemic has landed on the head of the minister of health, Dr Fenton Ferguson.

While I agree that he bears much of the responsibility for this preventable disaster and dug his own grave by not facing up to the reality of the outbreak that existed around him, he is not the only one to blame.

I believe that the senior civil servants in the ministry, especially Dr Marion Bullock-Ducasse, must be bear some responsibility, too. A minister of government is consumed with multiple activities and may need guidance from qualified and competent persons. This is where the minister's technocrats come into play. As senior civil servants, they are crucial to the good running of the ministry.

The public deserves to know who attended the chikungunya preparedness workshop on the behalf of the Ministry of Health put on by the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) in May 2012 in Kingston, just 10 minutes drive from the ministry.

We also deserve to know what action plan was put in place after the workshop to educate and prepare health professionals, local government, other relevant authorities and the public about chikungunya. I cannot, for the life of me, understand how the government was caught so off-guard despite TWO YEARS notice!

In other civilised countries, it would not only be the minister who would have been fired, but his senior civil servants would have been shown the door, too.

Now we see where Dr Bullock-Ducasse has been PROMOTED. Is this a joke or what? Our tax dollars are being wasted on them frankly.

HELENE CLARKE

Norbrook, Kingston 8