LETTER OF THE DAY - Campaign harder against chik-V, Ebola
THE EDITOR, Sir: The outbreak of chikungunya has laid bare the deficiencies of the health system that have constantly been highlighted by the citizens, but fell on the deaf ears of the authorities.
Poor public education is to blame for persons not understanding chikungunya. If the country spent two years preparing for this outbreak, all citizens should have been placed on the alert from then and an islandwide campaign taken to educate persons on the impact it may had and the preventative measures that have been put in place and what citizens can do to help.
While I understand that the real impact of chik-V has been downplayed in order to protect the tourist industry, it is with the citizens that we first should be loyal and honest. Having a hotel filled with tourists and little or no staff to attend to them still does not say something positive to our visitors.
Back in the day, every yard was kept clean, as part of the chores for children was to sweep the yard early morning, heap up the garbage, and by nightfall it would be burned. Bottom line: People took pride in keeping their surroundings clean. I also remember my parents boring cans and plastic bottles before adding them to the garbage.
We cannot expect to dispose of our waste wherever we see fit and then ask the government to clean it up. We each have a responsibility to ensure that our surroundings are kept clean at all times and that our waste is properly disposed of - not in gullies, on the roadside or piled up around our homes.
Just hearing the word Ebola drives fear. In other Caribbean countries, fliers are already being distributed to citizens informing them of the signs and symptoms. We took two years to prepare for chik-V. I wonder how well we have prepared for Ebola.
Our free health-care system is not working, as doctors cannot treat patients without the supplies, therefore, making private care the only means of receiving proper care. We need to know what to be political about and where to draw the line, as this affects everyone.
While we have time, I would urge not only the private sector but all stakeholders to join with the Government to hastily have the hospitals inventory increased, start a public-education campaign, and start to get the country ready. Use up the text services by the telecommunication companies and get persons to start the preparation.
We cannot sit and wait until it gets here. Let us be proactive, not reactive.