By Pat Dial
Kaieteur News – In this offering, we will revisit the Covid-19 Pandemic because it is the worst health crisis the country has experienced within living memory, because of the danger of death to which the unvaccinated are ignorantly exposing themselves and because the unvaccinated are delaying Herd Immunity and the return of social and economic normalcy.
Guyana has so far executed a world class Covid-19 Programme. If we compare our programme with those of the developed countries as well as those of other developing countries, our achievement is outstanding. However, we cannot congratulate ourselves until Herd Immunity has been achieved and the country returns to social and economic normalcy.
We will not recount all the elements, which have made the Guyana Pandemic programme the success it has so far been. One of the major elements is Management. The Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, did not delegate this task but took personal control of it and appointed a team of able and dedicated young doctors and nurses to help to execute it and among these were Dr. Ertenisa Hamilton who assumed direct on the ground control and Dr. Lall who is involved in the vaccination aspect.
Though vaccination of the population is the most important measurable facet of the programme, there are other ancillary activities which are imperative and these include recruitment and training of staff; provision of suitable hospitalisation facilities; provision of suitable equipment; provision of adequate supplies of medications; testing; oxygen; special cold storage facilities; obtaining supplies of vaccines which required both diplomatic and commercial skills; and meeting the challenges of inoculating a widely scattered comparatively small Interior population traversing difficult terrain of mountains, forests and rivers; and importantly, to keep the population informed on a daily basis.
When Dr. Ertenisa Hamilton was asked about the daunting task of vaccinating the Interior Regions, she reiterated that her office was informed by the principle of delivery of universal health care across the entire country. “We cannot serve our country,” she said, “if we serve it in a manner in which those who are easily accessible receive more Covid-19 services than those who are not easily accessible . . . We are committed to ensuring that every Guyanese receive equitable, accessible and acceptable service in all Covid-19 services and also in the general provision of healthcare.”
Dr. Frank Anthony and his team showed remarkable foresight when, early in the Pandemic, they approached Covax, a UN-associated body, and secured a commitment for supply of vaccines for 20% of the population and also sourced supplies from India, China and Russia. Today, most countries in the world are suffering from vaccine shortage and several would not receive vaccines for several months from now. Guyana is one of the very few developing countries, which has enough of a supply of vaccines to achieve Herd Immunity before year-end.
Dr. Anthony, Dr. Hamilton, Dr. Lall and their team of young professional nurses have crafted an outstanding programme to confront the Pandemic including a very fine vaccination programme and by now Herd Immunity should have been clearly in sight. But this has been frustrated by an outlandish misinformation campaign against the vaccine by use of the social media and rumour.
Dr. Anthony and others in the Medical Profession have been appealing to those who have allowed themselves to be misled, to protect themselves, their families and their community by taking the vaccine. Dr. Anthony, in patient disappointment, recently remarked, “Availability of vaccines is not the issue it is making sure that people come and get their vaccination . . . Unfortunately, we have seen in some communities there has been vaccine hesitancy because of all kinds of myths.” Consumer advocates are less polite than Dr. Anthony is and would point out that not being vaccinated and as a result, infecting other persons, is criminal. In the unlikely event of the vaccinated being infected, the attack would scarcely be fatal, but if the unvaccinated experience a severe attack, that person could be near to death’s door.
It is of the highest national importance that the population be vaccinated against the Covid-19 Pandemic since it will protect citizens, their families and society from suffering and untimely death. It would also guard against citizens being victims to variants of the virus and sudden spikes, which have wreaked such havoc in several countries and help to achieve Herd Immunity, which would lift the lockdowns and return society to social and economic normalcy. The Guyana Consumers Association (GCA) is therefore calling upon the major National Stakeholders – the Parliamentary political parties, the Labour Movement, the Private Sector, the Medical Profession and the University of Guyana to jointly reject the misrepresentations against the vaccines and appeal to the nation to take advantage of the Covid-19 vaccination programme and protect themselves and families, achieve Herd Immunity and return Guyana to social and economic normalcy. GCA will be formally writing these national stakeholders on the issue.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
Oct 18, 2021Kaieteur News – The Cinderella County of Essequibo was abuzz with top class cycling action yesterday when the 4th Urban Benjamin Memorial Ounce of Gold Cycle Road Race organised by Evolution...
Kaieteur News – My wife and I had lunch at Bertha and Mackie (B&M) Creole restaurant on Smyth Street opposite the... more
By Sir Ronald Sanders Kaieteur News – On October 12, more than a dozen representatives in the US Congress sent a letter... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]