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LETTER OF THE DAY - Ebola and the Caribbean

Published:Tuesday | October 14, 2014 | 10:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir: The recent vicarious experience gained through the Texas Ebola cases shows that despite the most advanced medical resources in the world, the virus is virtually unstoppable. I am not in the mood to send doom and gloom, but we must recognise the threat and do our best to mitigate through proper planning and not be lost in the politicising of this issue.

Can you imagine if this virus gets to Haiti? God forbid! The flood of humanity would seek to escape the phenomenon. Imagine if even one person with the virus got on a makeshift raft heading to Jamaica to escape Ebola. By the time it got here, we would have a boatload of Ebola-infected individuals turning up on our shores in Portland, far away from any medically appropriate facilities. The impact of this migration would swiftly overwhelm our already fragile medical system, the results catastrophic.

The overdependence of our economy on travel is the greatest strength of a tourism-dependent economy as well as the greatest weakness in the face of the Ebola virus. Imagine how many tourists would gladly visit an Ebola-infected island for fun in the sun. It is not Jamaica only that would be at risk.

The geographical realities of the Caribbean make Ebola a challenge to all states in the Western Hemisphere. The pull factor of these persons 'running' to the United States of America for better health care is very alluring.

I am using this medium to ask our national leaders to put aside partisan rivalry and recognise that the debate on chik-V would be redundant at best in the face of Ebola. It is also a call to our richer cousins up North. This virus requires that we all be our brother's keeper. We need to leverage the wealth of the whole world to meet the needs of the whole world. Hoarding wealth at the expense of health will lead only to a dead end.

This may be the catalyst for Jamaica to lead the message using our well-acclaimed musical talents to spread the word to the world. This may be our time to do as our pledge says and enhance the welfare of the whole human race.

CLAYTON HALL

Principal, Spanish Town High

claytonohall@yahoo.com