THE EDITOR: There is a renewed sense of purpose emanating from some leaders in the Tobago space, giving Tobagonians some hope that all is not lost.
Last week, the people of Tobago heard from the newly minted PDP’s alternative executive council, a move taken by the young, vibrant party to ensure oversight and accountability during the six-six THA deadlock.
In particular, the people heard directly from the alternative secretary of health, wellness and family development, public health expert Dr Faith BYisrael.
In an address, BYisrael, who also has responsibility for food production, forestry and fisheries, provided the public with additional information and clarifications about covid19, the vaccine and its side effects.
What was most remarkable about her presentation was the way in which she addressed the audience, using mainly layman’s terms. In so doing, viewers/listeners were provided with palatable and digestible information, in bite-size pieces, without the pomp, circumstance and bravado that usually accompany government press conferences.
Against a backdrop which read “Let’s Transform Tobago,” the assemblyman sought to allay fears and boost the public’s confidence in taking the vaccine. She clarified that the vaccine may prevent some people from contracting the virus, while preventing others from getting severely ill if they do happen to contract covid19.
BYisrael also sought to clarify the term “breakthrough covid,” which refers to contracting the virus even after getting vaccinated. In effect, she strongly encouraged vaccination in her capacity as a public health professional.
Reinforcing the purpose and importance of the PDP alternative executive council, especially when there is a holdover PNM executive council still in place, BYisrael went on to make two recommendations.
Her first recommendation is that the Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development should make a concerted effort to ensure that high-risk individuals are identified, sought after and prioritised to receive the vaccine first.
According to her, this group includes those who are 60 years old and over, people with co-morbidities and healthcare professionals who come into contact with covid19 positive patients regularly.
The second recommendation is to develop a system for self-reporting, particularly reporting side effects. She said that collecting this data now will allow for clear analysis and targeted responses and action later.
Essentially, what the assemblyman and alternative secretary has done is legitimise the PDP alternative executive council. The PDP assemblymen continue to take their responsibilities seriously and come up with different solutions for the current leadership crisis. That in itself is strong leadership.
JAMAL J GEORGE