The most important voice in the debate on Covid19, vaccines and re-opening the economy are the workers who have maintained, defended and protected the foundations of the economy and the society, especially since Lockdown began in March 2020. Their voice, concerns and proposals for opening up or not and how to do so are paramount. To vaccinate or not is secondary debate and a personal matter for each individual and not the reason for a manufactured controversy manipulated to create splits and tension in the society when calm, rationality and objectivity is vital. Apparently disingenuous arguments of the government whilst seeming to violate the right to a livelihood of workers seems to be behind Union leaders skepticism on vaccines. Reports that the governments apparent ultimatums are mirrored in practice with the business community imposing vaccine ultimatums on workers attest to this. Same companies who reportedly prioritise profit over employees health safety and workers right to a livelihood. Workers TU leaders are obliged to take a stand in defence of their members rights.
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, on Thursday evening, ordered that all persons evacuate from the Red Zone, as La Soufriere could erupt explosively, without further warning, within the next 24 to 48 hours. Gonsalves noted the stage 3 alert issued earlier in the day amidst tremors at the volcano, which began at 3 a.m. The prime … Continue reading Saint Vincent – Evacuation Ordered As Volcano ‘is trying to clear its throat’
It is estimated that 83 per cent of deaths in Barbados are caused by non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and one in three children in Barbados is overweight or obese. Research also shows that 1 in 5 adult Barbadians has diabetes, 66 per cent of adults are overweight, and 33 per cent are obese. These alarming statistics have been major causes of concern for those in the medical fraternity, as the country continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of this writing, there are six approved vaccines and over 50 candidates in development. In the UK, the NHS recently started administering the Pfizer BioNTech mRNA vaccine, and the US followed suit one week later. COVID19 vaccine development has reinvigorated a certain type of vaccine nationalism not seen for decades. Each vaccine or candidate gets a particular pedigree, narrative and aura of trustworthiness according to its origins. The vaccines and candidates are a mix of private-sector developed or public/private partnership, with only a few candidates from universities or the public sector (WHO, 2020). In Cuba’s state-run socialist biopharmaceutical system, their new COVID19 vaccine, called Soberana or “The Sovereign,” is effortlessly enfolded into a long-standing national narrative of vaccine prowess.
It is clear that governments across the region are failing their citizens with regard to providing healthcare. Underpinning this lack is the fact that many regional governments pay out more in debt servicing than they invest in developing the healthcare systems. This means that they are left holding out a begging bowl when confronted by health care challenges.
Should any of these efforts ultimately succeed, the Caribbean nation — already a medical powerhouse that has developed a lung cancer vaccine and methods to stop mother-to-baby HIV and syphilis transmission — will likely become an important supplier to other Latin American and developing countries who have been effectively shut out from purchasing COVID vaccines from Western companies, as rich nations have already begun hoarding coronavirus medicines.
In 2018, the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) contracted the Canadian research firm of Dunn, Pierre, Barnett and Company Limited to conduct a comprehensive study into issues impacting the migration of Health Workers in the Caribbean region.
As the the world remains fixated with Covid 19, other significant public health threats are being overlooked. The ongoing dengue fever outbreak in the Caribbean is one such. The devastating effect this is having on people's health is a further sign of the failure of those in power, which in Martinique's case is France's colonial authorities, to provide people with a modern health care system.
A problem to be taken up for solution is that Tobagonian civil society - rather than operating as individual silos, fragmented and atomized, doing their own thing - needs to be activated and empowered as such. Working out how to empower the civil society with decision making power is a big challenge.
“It is quite clear that the novel drug Caflanone could be a game changer in the fight against COVID-19,” Dr Lowe said yesterday. “If this is achieved it could bring not only relief for the millions of sufferers of COVID-19, but also identify Jamaica as a country where scientific and medical innovation can flourish, as well as create great wealth for the country.”