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AWRIGHT DEN: Wake-up call

Corey Worrell

AWRIGHT DEN: Wake-up call

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On page 3 of last week’s WEEKEND NATION, there was an article titled Ebola Divide. If you haven’t read it, I encourage you to. Reason being, I am interested in finding out if I am the only person who sees something wrong with some aspects of it.

If it wasn’t for my faith in Christ, this Government would kill me with heart attacks, depression, fear and hopelessness. They made a mess of the economy, education, health care, employment and tourism, yet Barbadians remain generally quiet and unshaken. Well, now that our lives and the lives of our children and family are in potential danger, I hope this is the wake-up call that stimulates action and a response from the Barbadian public.

Ebola has been a headache for experts in the field of medicine and disease control. If the Ebola virus was able to penetrate into the United States, although they had all the technology, expertise and security standards and structures, how much so little Barbados?

As I have said before, I believe my Government is either plugged into the matrix or living on another planet.

Acting Minister of Health Donville Inniss, in comments about Ebola, said: “I would just say to the country as a whole, on behalf of the Ministry of Health, that we are proactive, we are continuing to be very vigilant, continue to sensitise and train our front-line workers both in health care and those at our ports of entry, but I don’t think Barbadians have anything to worry about because, of course, the ministry will be entirely vigilant.”

To be quite honest, and my interpretation might be incorrect, but this sounds like canvassing rhetoric and political jargon. This matter is too serious for behaviour of this nature.

Interestingly, the head of the Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners, Dr Carlos Chase, expressed great concern that Barbados isn’t prepared to effectively deal with Ebola. He went on to say that he was not impressed with the level of preparedness and did not think we understood the seriousness of this disease.

The minister used the word “proactive” three times in the article. So let’s take a look at these proactive measures the Government has taken.

1. An isolation centre is to be set up by month end at Enmore Clinic in a densely populated area right next to a school and can only hold four people.

Seriously people, isn’t this a cause for concern? Around 3 400 people have died over the past six months from Ebola with some countries having over 200 dying in one day. This disease is so contagious. Professor Peter Piot, a specialist in Ebola who is advising the World Health Organisation, said “the smallest mistake can be fatal”. I am totally flabbergasted and at a loss as to the choice of location and capacity for the centre.

One man in America got sick and the authorities quarantined 80 people, including the ambulance crew. A centre that can only hold four people is like a cruise ship only having ten life jackets.  

2. Front-line workers both in health care and the ports of entry have been sensitised and trained.

Although I have my doubts about this, what sense is training without the necessary equipment required to keep people from being infected? One health care official said that bodysuits had not yet arrived into Barbados.

3. Being vigilant and heightening surveillance at ports.

I would love to know what this vigilance looks like. How are people being screened and assessed? Is there screening equipment at the ports or are we making our diagnosis with the naked eye?

4. The minister stated: “There are protocols that have been in place for many years to deal with communicable diseases, which the ministry continues to follow.”

My Barbadian family, this has to be the icing on the cake. Imagine that the minister is suggesting that the same protocols and procedures used to deal with other normal diseases would be followed to deal with Ebola. May the good Lord help us!

Dr Carlos Chase, I fully support you and I agree this is ridiculous; we aren’t ready.

• Corey Worrell is a former Commonwealth Youth Ambassador.