Health care fit for a queen

Health care fit for a queen

Thursday, April 09, 2020

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Dear Editor,

We have all had ample time for quiet reflection during this lockdown period. Of the thoughts that have crossed my mind are a few related to the possible lessons this pandemic is not so much seeking to teach us, as it is more hoping we'd learn.

I reflect on, with great sympathy and best wishes, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson being admitted to hospital in intensive care with COVID-19-related challenges. This, once again, shows that this virus is certainly no respecter of persons. Whatever the criticisms of him, especially as it relates to his handling of the funding of their National Health Service (NHS), I imagine they would all agree that their NHS, when needed to provide critical care for their top politician, was ready and able to answer the call and deliver excellent care at world-class standards — debates over funding notwithstanding.

I also imagine that Johnson would be secure in the knowledge that the NHS that he presides over is capable of according service fit for a king or queen, without any second-guessing whether he'd be better off getting on a flight bound for Switzerland in search of better care.

I am forced to imagine a similar scenario being played out on the Jamaican home front, where, God forbid, one of our top politicians gets infected with COVID-19 and has to access local health care systems (outside of the Tony Thwaites Wing at the University Hospital of the West Indies. With all flights grounded and the borders north of the island shut to foreign passenger traffic, I wonder whether our politicians would feel the same sense of calm and assurance that I imagine Johnson feels at his local NHS hospital. I wonder whether they would have any confidence in the health care system they preside over. I wonder how they are feeling now, when Miami is so far out of reach, thanks to COVID-19.

This virus has summoned all sorts of siren calls for producing more of what we consume in this country to shore up food security. We have propelled our education system into the 21st century — where we should and could have been ages ago were we less resistant to digitalised delivery of learning. We have lived to see banks in Jamaica asking customers to use online and cashless methods of transaction without the penalty of extra fees. In less than three weeks, COVID-19 has sparked a revolution that, with lessons learnt, might just see us emerging a better country, more suited to the realities of this century.

I am hoping that our politicians would see fit to invest in and develop our local health care infrastructure, making it fit for a queen. After all, that is to whom our allegiance is still sworn. Stay safe.

Terry O

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