The worrying news that there have already been three deaths from the H1N1 virus in T&T requires a significant acceleration in efforts by the Ministry of Health to provide safeguards as well as to sensitise the population as to the risks of catching this deadly strain of influenza.
The flu season, which runs from October to May, happens to coincide with the busy Christmas into Carnival period when there are more public activities, as well as an influx of visitors into this country. The public health system needs to mobilise in a particular way, even before the flu season begins, to ensure sufficient public awareness about the risk of infection, as well as the availability of adequate doses of the flu vaccine, particularly for vulnerable citizens.
In T&T this is by no means a simple undertaking. Apathy, as well as widespread misinformation about the cause and cures for influenza, means that many citizens may not access the vaccine, or seek medical attention quickly enough for suspected symptoms of the disease.
The message that needs to be more strongly reinforced is that the flu can be deadly. We hope that this realisation may motivate more people to be safe rather than sorry
The good news of declines in the number of road fatalities down to levels not seen in this country since 1958, is tempered by the reality of recklessness and indiscipline still much common among users of T&T's roads.
Sharon Inglefield is spot on in attributing the reduced fatality rates to increased law enforcement. The introduction of the breathalyser a few years ago has helped rein in drunk drivers to a significant degree, and more recently, use of speed guns and increases in penalties for traffic offences have helped in curbing traffic violations. However, there is still the matter of $90 million in traffic tickets being issued to errant drivers last year for speeding and other offences.
Therefore, there can be not letting up in road traffic exercises as well as awareness programmes. No effort should be spared in making T&T's roads much safer.
Hats off to a young hero
Jarell King deserved a standing ovation for his heroic actions when he tried to douse the flames that engulfed his family's Sobo Village home on Tuesday. Although he was not able to save the house, the 11-year-old displayed qualities of selflessness and courage well beyond his years.
This young man and his family deserve a helping hand to rebuild their lives, so we appeal for Good Samaritans to come forward and help speedily replace Jarell's school supplies which were lost in the blaze, ensuring he is all set to write the Secondary Entrance Assessment in March.