Need for solitude, contingency planning and executionFriday, September 03, 2021
We applaud radio talk show host Mrs Emily Shields for simple, yet priceless advice to her listeners, yesterday.
In the interest of mental health, she urged her audience to spend a little time individually to “clear” the mind. That, she said, was in order to achieve even a small period of solitude — “so quiet that you can hear a pin drop”.
Of course, Mrs Shields was speaking against the backdrop of the COVID-19 crisis which has most of us struggling to cope mentally, emotionally, and otherwise.
We all must find our own way to that inner peace and quiet. Some people will do it through prayer, meditation; some find peace and quiet in long walks, music, a good book…whatever. The important thing is to find that tranquil vibe, so important for the mental/emotional stability to respond properly and efficiently — individually and as part of a group — to the worst crisis in Jamaica's collective memory.
It's necessary if we are to avoid irrationality and/or panic, which Prime Minister Andrew Holness cautioned against this week.
Yet, such are the stresses and strains, it's inevitable that moments of panic, hysteria, even a sense that giving up is a viable option, will arise.
We hear it in the cry of a distraught nurse who had lost a colleague to COVID-19: “…I'm asking myself, is it really worth it?” she asked. That's an understandable moment of weakness that we must all guard against. For in life, giving up is not viable.
Very importantly, what's needed in the current crisis is confidence that those in charge have control.
Unfortunately, there is more than a hint of an absence of control in the current disagreements between Jamaica's sole supplier of medical oxygen, IGL Limited, and the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
We agree that this is not a time for the blame game — though there should come a time, after relevant investigations, for the chips to be allowed to fall where they may.
Far more useful right now, we think, is the recommendation by IGL — appropriate to the times in which we are living — for the Government to identify additional sources of oxygen, perhaps through the National Health Fund.
In what we are reading as a cry for help, managing director of IGL Mr Peter Graham tells us that, “As positive cases continue to rise in Jamaica there will be need for even more supplies, and here is where the Government and its external relationships are now critical…”
The Government has already said it is exploring all available options. We fully expect that both parties will work hand-in-hand to ensure the oxygen crisis of recent days does not recur.
Beyond that, and with the many uncertainties ahead, there is obvious, urgent need for those in charge to incorporate forward-planning and timely execution as integral parts of what they do.
We suggest that with thorough contingency planning and execution the current unhealthy situation of a single supplier of medical oxygen and a Government bereft of a ready alternative would have been avoided.
As a country, we have never been good at forward-planning. That has to change.
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