Dear Editor,

Over the past two weeks, I have heard of several people having Chikungunya-like symptoms and have even talked to some of them who happen to be my friends and relatives in Zeelugt. Most of these people live next to one another and it causes big, strong men to lie down and groan, complaining of pains all over their body. Some accept the explanations that the symptoms will last just a few days like the flu, but those who are unable to bear it seek medical help in the hospitals and health centres. This government is trying to convince the nation that it is not as serious as it seems, but perhaps they could tell us why they are the paying billions of dollars for drugs and their storage, but at a time of emergency there are no tablets or injections available at the Leonora Cottage Hospital or health centres. All of those whom I knew and who went there were advised to go to the pharmacy and buy tablets or injections. The price ranges between three hundred to three thousand dollars, and some pharmacies with their typical greed, increase the price when they see the urgent need for a particular medication.

At a time like this when we all are supposed to be helpful, there are many who for some inexplicable reason seem to ignore that.

Editor, I noticed my three kids all started to show signs of having flu so my wife took them to the health centre in Zeelugt where she was advised to go and buy injections and bring them back so that the nurse on duty there could administer them to the children. All the pharmacies didn’t have that particular injection and neither did Leonora Cottage Hospital (so we were told). At around 2am on Friday morning my eighteen-month-old son started to jerk and he became unresponsive as if he was having a seizure. I immediately soaked his skin and head and tried to wake him. I informed my wife that we should take him to the hospital immediately, and we set out with my two daughters. Taxis cease to work after 12am where we reside, so we stood on the road at around 2.30am trying to flag down any vehicles that passed. A fishmonger who was waiting to go to the Meadow Bank wharf to purchase fish, wondered what type of motorist uses the road at that hour, because, how could someone see you standing with three small children and not stop to render assistance, although if anything happened to them, we would rush to assist them.

After getting treatment at the hospital, I asked the security guard to kindly call a taxi for us. After a while they informed us that the phone was ringing out and we decided to walk to the taxi base. As I suspected, there was a car there but I noticed the driver sleeping inside, so I gently tapped at the window. There was no response and after a while I called on the dispatcher who was also sleeping in the base. He woke up and tried calling the sleeping driver on his cellphone. After getting no answer, he bluntly told us to look for another taxi base because the driver was sleeping then he lay back in his hammock and went to sleep himself. Again, this is a human being who looks at a man and his wife with three small children who just came from the hospital, but refuse to help at 3.30 am all because their sleep is more important. This is Guyana and the hospitable people we have here!

We ended up catching a minibus that was starting early to join the line but still had to take the children back in the afternoon because they were still sick, only to be told to go and buy medication. This is in circumstances where all who were there had come for the same complaint.

Yours faithfully,

Sahadeo Bates

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