Come again on location of Ebola unit
Parents of students at The Ursuline Convent Schools have been loud and strong in their call for the proposed Ebola isolation centre to be moved from next to the school’s compound at the Enmore Clinic.
From the outset when the centre was being built to handle not just the deadly Ebola but any other infectious disease, parents raised their concerns about the proximity of the centre to the school.
Last Thursday, over 400 of them came together unified in their repeated call as they met with Ministry of Health officials who tried to allay the fears and answer their questions.
Still not satisfied, the parents on Tuesday called on the public to rally behind them and lobby for the removal of the facility. The parents have already launched a petition, soliciting signatures from concerned Barbadians after which the intention is to present it to Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and Minister of Health John Boyce.
These parents are no doubt resolute in their conviction that either the facility will move or they will shift their children from the school.
Opposition Leader Mia Mottley this week also joined parents in calling for its removal, especially given the fear associated with the virus.
Government can ill afford the negative feedback as it relates to the location of this facility, which is no doubt necessary in the event that there is a threat of Ebola to these shores.
Surely a better location could have been sought, especially given the sensitivity of the issue and the emotions that could have been predicted.
The reality is, there is a gamut of feelings as it relates to Ebola, ranging from fear to doubt and concern.
There is also uncertainty surrounding Ebola, and it is not comforting hearing that health officials in the United States are still not very clear on the protocols to treat this disease.
In addition, the widespread publicity and the extensive coverage on international news networks also help to feed the fear, even though this is not the intended outcome.
So to place the Ebola centre in the midst of a densely-populated, heavily-trafficked area and right next to a school was clearly not thought through properly or else the negative backlash would have been anticipated.
There are other possible alternatives in more remote areas which would have been more suitable and would certainly not have attracted the public fallout and negative comments.
It would, therefore, be worth the while of local officials to rethink the plan to put the Ebola unit at the Enmore Compound and instead look to remote areas, where the facility would be properly isolated.