Saturday, April 20, 2024

Room for more checks, balances in health issues


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West Indies’ Test skipper Denesh Ramdin (right) and teammate Marlon Samuels sharing a laugh during a training session  at the Ferozshah Kotla ground in India. The West Indies play India in an important fourth One-Day International tomorrow. (Picture courtesy WICB)

It’s time to clean up our act.

With the rising cases of chikungunya and dengue fever across Barbados, the call to clear and tidy our surroundings and get rid of any possible breeding grounds for the Aedes aegypti mosquito must be heeded.

Equally, it’s time to get tough and crack down on those guilty of refusing to clean their properties, even with the knowledge of the growing numbers of Barbadians falling ill to both these mosquito-borne illnesses.

It was therefore welcoming news to hear on Monday that health officials plan to prosecute people and businesses over mosquito breeding in the coming weeks.

This action is timely and much needed; the hope is it will prompt those who are guilty to spring into action and do the right thing.

Across Barbados there is still too much evidence of overgrown lots which are not cleared by owners. Health authorities indicated that the main offenders are mainly from St Michael areas where teams have also focused their fogging exercise. These people must, therefore, be held accountable, especially because failure to observe environmental laws can impact entire communities.

The Ministry of Health must be commended for doing its part in sensitising the public to the dangers of these health hazards as well as sustaining its fogging programme.

But it cannot stop there. More checks and monitoring must be done as a means of following up behind those who are slow to keep their surroundings clean.

It is time Barbados gets serious in tackling these health issues as they can have some dire repercussions on the productive sectors.

The highlighting of the thousands of tyres at the Mangrove Landfill this week only adds to the current environmental and health problem facing the country. Tyres are an ideal breeding ground for the Aedes mosquito and it was not surprising to hear residents nearby express their own concern.

Just yesterday, the Ministry of Health, in a release, confirmed that 49 people were infected at that time with chikungunya, while another 200 cases were under investigation.

There is no doubt that to date there are far more cases of this viral illness as more and more people are reporting symptoms daily to their medical doctors.

Last Sunday, it was reported that some cricketers were crippled by the symptoms associated with these mosquito-borne illnesses and were unable to play in a top competition.

This is the time to act. There can be no justification in playing with the health of our people.

Remember, the health of a nation is the wealth of a nation.



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