Ugh! Do you ever get really, really fed up with yourself? I mean if you can’t trust yourself, rely on yourself, on whom can you rely or trust? My life is in shambles. There I was, nicely morose, brain dead, entirely devoid of ideas, ready to quit, when a thought came into my head, and off I went again, writing a new A-Musing after having sworn never to approach the beast again.
A few years ago, maybe a decade or so because we had a UWP government, I was involved in quite a charitable adventure. Actually ‘involved’ is not really the right word. I was the adventure along with my buddy, Bordelais Director Hilary Hermann. In those days I was an avidly active Rotarian in the Gros Islet Club and any charitable event in which I was involved was usually channelled through the club for publicity reasons.
As it happened, through one of Hilary’s connections, I found myself in touch with an organization named C.U.R.E. that operated out of Denver, Colorado. C.U.R.E. was quite a snazzy operation: they distributed perfectly good, unused medical equipment to designated countries worldwide – free! Most of these machines and other medical equipment and supplies were last year’s models that had been replaced by newer versions, but were perfectly usable.
Getting on to the list of approved countries was not easy. The forms I filled in were endless, but eventually Saint Lucia became a designated recipient of C.U.R.E.’s medical treasure trove. Over a period of two years we received around 4,000,000 dollars’ worth of brand new supplies and equipment that were handed over to some central supply organization at Victoria Hospital, Castries by the Rotary Club of Gros Islet.
Throughout this whole process the Ministry of Health was a silent, not to say sleeping partner. The Ministry’s role was to clear the goods at Customs, so you will not be surprised to hear that the fees for storage grew to incredible heights until I finally persuaded the Ministry to play its part and get the job done.
I think we received three containers in all before I quit. Not surprisingly, there was no one around to pick up the baton and continue the collaboration, which is almost always the case. The people at the Ministry seemed sublimely uninterested in taking on the project. Now here’s the thing, Saint Lucia does not have a modern CAT scan machine and it occurred to me that begging around to get one would not be such a bad idea and my mind turned once again to C.U.R.E.
You see, one of the great injustices in Saint Lucia is the way that people malign our doctors and go dashing off to Martinique as soon as they can scrape the money together. Of course, at the other extreme, there are those who put their faith in ‘witch doctors’ and their potions brewed from local ingredients and put off seeing a real doctor until it is too late.
Yes, as in all societies, there are good and less good doctors, but from personal experience I have found that the majority of doctors at our hospitals are dedicated professionals who work their hearts out to provide the best possible health care given the limited means at their disposal.
It would seem to me that Government, on the basis of providing the best possible environment for the greater good, should concentrate their efforts on supplies and equipment that would enable hundreds and thousands of our citizens to receive the best possible means of detecting and diagnosing problems at the earliest stages.
It sounds tough, I know, but I have had to harden my heart against individual appeals for help. Each individual case is heartbreaking and often unsuccessful, ending in prolonged agony for all concerned.
Think of it this way: 20 individuals at $10,000 each might result in four or five being cured. But how much more useful would a $200,000 piece of equipment be in detecting and diagnosing problems before they became catastrophes?
So, I am going to see if I can find a few bits and pieces of brand new equipment floating around somewhere. I’ll start with C.U.R.E. even though Saint Lucia, because of its lack of enthusiasm after my departure, might be out of favour. We can’t, after all, rely on Government, can we?