Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Our Health Services

According to Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CaPRI), since the implementation of the No User Fee Policy, there is a severe shortage of equipment and medication in our Health Services.  All this proves is not necessarily that it was not practical to have a no user fee policy but that Jamaicans are very sick. In order for a no user fee policy to work, Jamaica needs to put most of the effort and resources into Primary Healthcare (aka preventative healthcare). It makes no sense fixing what is unfixable but preventing the need to fix it in the first place. It is sad that primary healthcare as a concept was pretty much conceptualised here and we suck so badly at it.

As it stands most of the resources of the Health Ministry is placed on curative and rehabilitation rather than prevention. Many will disagree but technically, if those charged with the duty of spreading prevention were treated with a bit more respect and given the resources they need and held strictly accountable for their work then in principle their would be a smaller burden placed on the curative aspect of healthcare, therefore there would be no shortages in medication and equipment in hospitals.

Many will disagree but theoretically, Doctors should not be paid as much as Public Health Inspectors and Public Health Nurses, Health Educators etc. They are the vanguard of the country's fight against ill-health. The current situation exists because many of who create policies are the ones getting better pay. A health sector panel that includes equally every single aspect of the health delivery system must be set-up to tackle the issues our Health Services face. It is counter-productive to have so many 'technocrats' getting the bulk of the funding from taxpayers to have this sorry situation our country is faced with. Simple fix, now apply it!

Jamaicans and what is "Right"

There has been much rambling lately on which laws should be "repealed" (note 'repealed' and not 'amended'). Now, people are too easily given to upholding what is convenient or what supports their position or thinking and too ready to oppose what goes against their views. The Towns and Communities Act of 1843 states clearly that it is illegal to sell items on "Sundays, Good Friday, and Christmas Day, except in pharmacies, in shops within the terminal buildings of the Norman Manley and Sangster international airports, and public markets." The Women (Employment of) Act of 1942 clearly states that it is illegal for women to work after 10pm. There have been much calls lately since the Jamaica Gleaner ran a piece on "obsolete laws" for these laws to be "repealed" (note the quotes). Many are pointing out the dates as a supporting argument for the removal of these statutes from the books. This argument is totally flawed and therefore worthless to anybody who at least thinks without setting off a migraine.

The one thing that I use to discredit such an argument, I am sure the law that applies to murder (Offences against the persons act) was in existence in some way similar to its current form long before these "obsolete" laws. In other words, I am sure it was as illegal then as it is now to commit murder. Therefore, one cannot use time to determine the usefulness of an act. The act that criminalises 'buggery' aka anal sex in Jamaica was on the books since at least 1861 just about 20 years after the one that bans selling on Christmas day and nearly 80 years before an equally obsolete one that bans women working after 10pm. Now, if age or time the Act was passed is important in determining its applicability then all these laws should be repealed.

Laws should not be repealed solely because of their perceived obsolescence but due to it actually being obsolete. Consider the current trends and conditions that prevail in society then determine whether they are to be amended to be in line with international standards and above all morality.