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Human life is sacred. Human life is irreversible. Human life would have meaning for someone. A beloved wife. A beloved husband. A beloved mother. A beloved father. A beloved sister. A beloved brother. A beloved grandmother. A beloved grandfather. A cousin. An aunt. An uncle. A close friend.Therefore it is imperative, when one in that privileged position of policy strategising for healthcare, that it is undertaken with a holistic panoramic view rather than a simplistic self interest perspective.
We are all presently living under the dark clouds of a COVID-19 pandemic. This is a new experience for the vast majority of us. Many, if not all of us would not have had our umbilical cords cut before 1918, that dreadful year of the last global pandemic. Many civilised societies, recognising this unique and present pandemic danger, capitalised on this global crisis to unite under one unifying umbrella, regardless of race religion or political affiliation, to tackle this deadly virus which has only one intent. To kill us all.
The rationale underpinning this unifying umbrella approach is down to the painful reality that the virus doesn’t discriminate race, political affiliation, religion, ect. The virus did not present itself in Guyana with an APNU+AFC or PPP party card. The virus is no respecter of status or whether one lives in a mansion or shack. It’s considers all of us fair gain. Furthermore, within their outer envelopes are deadly antigens that they are prepared to inject into our bodies, if given the slightest of opportunities. Considering this dire circumstances facing us all, one would have thought that the PPP fraudulent Government would have seen the urgency of the hour in bringing all heads together, regardless of politic party affiliation, to save Guyanese lives. Unfortunately their shortsightedness continues to limit their view and in the process created a national crisis which has resulted in many deaths.
It is a fact that statistics don’t lie and they can be painful. In a 24 week period, under the APNU+AFC Government there were 20 deaths and 420 cases of COVID-19. The contrast under the PPP fraudulent Government is stark. Under this PPP fraudulent Government, which is approximately 8 weeks old, there are 2,367 cases and 58 deaths. When this is viewed in the context of the COVID-19 ITU being presently overwhelm with patients on ventilators, it patently obvious that Guyana is facing a deadly crisis, orchestrated by PPP
And the obvious question on the lips of many concern Guyanese is, what is responsible for this nightmarish COVID-19 transformation under PPP? PPP would never take responsibility. It is not in their DNA. As a result, not wanting to answer to the Guyanese populace, they foolishly attempted to extricate themselves by trying to shift blame to the previous APNU+AFC Government. The reality is, despite their desperate attempts, there efforts failed to gain any traction. One of the arguments they used is that the exponential increase numbers of cases and deaths is down to their ramped up screening. That assertion is absolute hogwash. The reality is that under the PPP, 95% of the cases of COVID-19 were registered in only 8wks. Using their logic, this would translate that 95% of the population was asymptomatic to COVID-19, when they fraudulently took office. Their asinine argumentation goes against global statistics where only 40% of the cases are asymptomatic. Furthermore, increase screening can’t explain the exponential increases in deaths and ITU admissions. So what are the real reasons for this horror show Guyanese are experience?
The painful reality is that this COVID-19 catastrophe is down to one reason and one reason only. Incompetence. The incomparable and staggering incompetence of the PPP. The poster boy of this staggering incompetence is none other than the cough and cold doctor and masquerading Minister of Health, Dr.Frank Anthony. Clearly out of his depth, he was given a lifeline by the beloved former Minister of Health, Mrs. Volda Lawrence. Mrs. Lawrence eloquently argued against the PPP foolery of isolating COVID+ patients to their homes with absolutely no monitoring or penalty for anyone who breaches the order. Humans are social creatures hence would always want to socialise. With this knowledge, it would be obvious to the rational mind that patients who are being isolated or quarantine to their homes, must be monitored. Failing that then the policy of the previous Minister of Health of only isolating patients in Government facilities would be the only option. Isolating infected patients at home, without any monitoring, will result in many patients breaching the order and infecting others as we are presently witnessing.
Health care providers are rightfully classified as essential staff. They bravely and unselfishly provider care for patients who are a sneeze away from death. Recognising that 80% of COVID-19 patients may be asymptomatic or have mild symptoms, it is imperative that there is a very low threshold for testing health care providers. As a result, I struggle to understand the rationale in only testing health care providers who come into contact with an infected person, only if they have symptoms. That would simply mean that a significant percentage of those health care providers, who are infected but are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms, may go on to infect vulnerable patients they care for, who are likely to die. Further these health care providers can unwittingly infect their colleagues and the general public, the result of which is contributing to the catastrophe.
Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)is what stands between healthcare providers and COVID-19. PPE are generally only for one time use then carefully discarded. Without PPE, these brave COVID-19 soldiers would be sitting ducks for the virus. Therefore it boggles the mind as to what is the rational behind the PPP fraudulent Government spending millions on expensive SUVs for their Ministers while nurses and doctors are struggling to have supplies of PPE. This action reflects the uncaring nature of this fraudulent Government who clearly have their priorities in the wrong place. Clearly health care workers without PPE will not only at risk of becoming infected but they are also likely to infect others. Undeniably another factor contributing to the exponential increase in cases and deaths.
The next issues are face mask and social distancing. Many are all excited about the COVID-19 vaccine but this is unlikely to reach Guyana before the end 2021. Having said that, vaccines will only be effective in 70-75% of the patients. On the other hand, the N95 face mask provides 95% protection if worn correctly. Therefore, it is imperative to encourage strict wearing of face mask, hand washing and the practising of social distancing. The police and the army can reinforce these laws with defaulters facing severe on the spot financial fines. The reality is that PPP themselves don’t support the wearing of face mask hence it is unsurprising that the populace are lukewarm with their compliance which resulted in the virus being spread unabated.
Presently in Guyana there is a system where private hospitals are undertaking COVID-19 testing but there is no way of the COVID-19 task force being aware of these test unless the private hospital informs them. In my humble opinion and from experience, private hospitals do not always inform the COVID-19 task force especially if the patient is influential in society. I would vigorously argue that the COVID-19 task force should have a better system, likely computerised, of being alerted to a positive result apart from an unreliable phone call. Another factor contributing to this crisis
Further daily updates on COVID-19 should be undertaken to remind the population of the danger of COVID-19. Further it serves to inform the populace, on a daily basis, of the COVID-19 hotspots. This would give the populace a better understanding of any restriction that is recommended by the task force. The sad reality is that PPP would rather not have their failed policy being on display on a daily basis. Sadly this to will result in deaths.
Therefore, it can be concluded that the reasons for the exponential increases in the numbers of deaths and cases are multifactorial and all down to the incompetence of the PPP fraudulent Government. This is unfortunate and add credence to Mr. Granger’s argument that experience cannot be faked.
Dr.Mark Devonish MBBS MSc Med. Ed FRCP(Edin) FRCP(Lond)
Consultant Acute Medicine
Nottingham University Hospital