Wed | Oct 17, 2018

Ferguson an abysmal failure

Published:Wednesday | February 11, 2015 | 12:00 AM


I saw on the news recently Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller defending the stewardship of embattled Dr Fenton Ferguson, the health minister. Unfortunately, the prime minister, probably out of touch with reality and also keen on propping up her failing minister, is focused more on the survival of her unpopular Government more than anything else.

Ferguson, in my book, is the worst minister of health this country has ever seen. He sat and watched as the chikungunya outbreak devastated the Jamaican populace despite repeated warnings from ordinary folks and experts alike, in addition to a two-year heads-up from the Pan American Health Organization.

And, as the virus raged with ferocity in his own St Thomas constituency, the minister arrogantly bashed critics, including his political opponent, who begged for the health ministry to get on top of the epidemic.

And while the chikungunya-related complications have left several Jamaicans dead and many more with pain here and there, the public health system has all but collapsed under the weight of a lack of resources, and poor leadership - policy and technical - on his part.

It is obvious that the public health system is running him and not the other way around. We have seen where the Victoria Jubilee maternity hospital reportedly ran out of water, the University Hospital of the West Indies' canteen closed after being overrun with roaches, operating theatres shut down because of failing air-conditioning systems, three-year wait times for urgent surgery at the Kingston Public Hospital, the St Ann's Bay Hospital having food shortages for patients, the May Pen Hospital out of bed space, and salary and allowance shortages among health employees.

Madam Prime Minister, please don't celebrate failure.


Miramar, Florida