Leave politics out of chik-V health crisis
THE EDITOR, Sir: If the Government and the Opposition cannot agree on the chikungunya statistics, it is unrealistic for us to expect them to analyse the nature of the epidemic and work towards a common solution.
We must, nevertheless, commend the minister of health, Dr Fenton Ferguson, for admitting that we have a chik-V crisis and that Government and people must work together to solve it.
Platitudes are not enough, however. Therefore, I am asking the Opposition and Government to show more respect for the health of our people. I am begging the People's National Party and Jamaica Labour Party to sit down and formulate a plan so that some critical necessities are in place for the protection of the health of the population.
I want some reassurance from them about preparation if the Ebola virus were to hit our shores. I would like the questions below to be answered by our legislators.
1. If Ebola were to arrive in Jamaica, how many Ebola treatment isolation units would Jamaica need, and where would they be located?
2. How many days would it take for Jamaica to get a sample confirmation from the United States-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention?
3. Do we have disposable laser thermometers and personal protective equipment in stock?
4. Have we resolved the shortage of IV fluid that would be crucial if Ebola were to hit our shores?
5. How many trained contact tracers/epidemiologists do we have?
6. What public-education policies are in place to educate the public about Ebola? Policies such as how to avoid exposure to the disease, how to bury the dead safely, and the ways of not exposing oneself to waste and secretion from relatives with the Ebola viral disease.
These questions should be discussed by Parliament, with input from stakeholders such as the Jamaica Medical and Bar associations, the hospitals, and the private sector. In such a matter, there must be no politics.
RACHAEL IRVING (Dr)
Mona, Kingston 7