By Nalinda Jayatissa –
It is the general medical opinion that when a person is afflicted with Leprosy, the patient looses most feelings over a large part of the body.
It is evident by the decisions and activities made by the present government that the country is suffering from COVID; the government itself it is sad to say, is afflicted with Leprosy. This is due to the insensitivity and total gross disregard to the fate of the citizens of the country. This is evidence of the mismanagement of the pandemic on a daily basis by the incumbent government. The government wakes up only after the entire health sector and the civil society have repeatedly voiced their concerns and when it is far too late to take remedial action.
Sometime back a statement supposedly issued by the President’s Secretary P.B. Jayasundara, appeared on media. According to these reports, he had stated that obtaining foreign loans should be curtailed. He had also stated that loans obtained for development and other various projects should be minimized as loans are “traps”. Why has it taken so long for P.B. Jayasundara who was a former Secretary to the Ministry of Finance to realize that foreign loans are traps?
During the past years the JVP and many other organizations have explained with data, facts and examples that the rulers have snared Sri Lanka on loans trap for generations to come. Somehow, for reasons best known to them the government has acted on the basis that obtaining foreign loans was a victory for the country. Today the officials including Mr. Jayasundara who states that the foreign loans are traps, were then of the opinion that the foreign loans are a victory.
After obtaining loans and mismanaging this money through wastage and engulfing the country in a loan disaster, it is hilarious to talk about obtaining of foreign loans, specially having taken a loan of $200 million from Bangladesh. In reality, this is not an issue related to sensitivity but it means they are consoling themselves as there is no place else to go begging. This is a “poem of consolation to placate their guilty conscience.
They have been highly insensitive with regard to actions taken for the suppression and controlling of the COVID epidemic. That is why it is felt that the government is afflicted with Leprosy!
During the early part of 2020, when the medical personnel pointed out that the disease was spreading fast and that we should buy an approved vaccine, the government stated that there was no mighty hurry for us to buy the vaccine!
Instead, the government promoted the use of “pani” or syrup and engaged in hilarious acts of throwing water “pots “in the river!
Alas! When the government wanted to purchase the vaccine, no funds were available. The early birds got the worm because the manufacturing companies had run out as other countries had placed their indents early.
Even when epidemiologists and various specialist organizations warned that the country should be locked down for a few weeks to contain this situation the view of the government was that the people should learn to live with COVID. Mortality figures only indicate that living with COVID amounts to living with death!
The government ignored the repeated requests made by the health experts that a travel ban be imposed early in April, when the spreading of the disease accelerated, to epidemic proportions. However, after much lobbying by the concerned parties, the government reluctantly imposed a travel ban, that too in a half hearted manner. The horse had bolted when the government decided to close the stable door!
The government did have neither an understanding nor the sensitivity to the enormity of this disaster. They neither had a plan nor a system on how to control the epidemic. Instead, all that they did was to go round bragging and boasting that they were the only ones who did a perfect job. The government totally ignored the fact that the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic have exacted an enormous toll on the well-being of the population.
The government did not heed the advice when alerted that the hospital capacity was inadequate in the face of the acceleration of the disease. In the meantime the health workers were pushed to exhaustion! It was also advised that facilities should be increased and the spread of the disease should be contained according to health guidelines. Instead of doing that the solution of the government was to provide more hospital beds!
Later in the crisis, most health sector personnel have united in expressing their alarm over the spread of the disease and have expressed the adverse impact on public health.
Here is another reason why we think that the government is afflicted with Leprosy while the whole country is suffering from the effects of Corona.
In reality what has happened? These are the repercussions of a government having a very high opinion of themselves and the result of their arrogance. When arrogance, stubbornness and paying scant attention to health specialists accumulate to this extent to it spells disaster to a country.
Despite our having told for over an year that the prevention and controlling of the disease should be given over to the epidemiologists and the health sector, the government turned a deaf ear.
Recently Dilan Perera of the member of the government stated that the Army Commander should step down from giving the leadership to the COVID prevention programme and hand it over to the health sector. However, it is unclear whether this is the opinion of the government who has failed miserably so far in their attempt to manage the COVID pandemic.
The stupidity and the arrogance of the government being what it is, yet in time, a cure will be found for COVID, but we have to be alert to the fact that the illness of leprosy that haunts this government there is no cure!