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Politicians may try to empathise, but it’s largely for show…

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PM briefed MPs and Mayors on national medical emergency. The Minister of Health sat beside her, but is having difficulty absorbing the message…

Today is a day to be perplexed. The PM did something very good in calling a meeting to brief all MPs and Mayors on the emergency response to the Chikungunya outbreak and the threat of Ebola. They was a step in the direction of national leadership for which many have called. Then, the Minister of Health loses the plot. First, he stated that he wished he would get Chikungunya so that he could feel the pain of those who’ve been struck by the virus. This verges on masochism, but what was he really thinking? Naturally, the comment has spurred guffaw-like responses. Would he want to be shot to feel the pain of those assailed by gunmen? Would he want to lose limbs to feel the pain of those who suffered from industrial accidents? Several politicians in other countries have tried to share in the people’s suffering. Recently, three US congressmen lived for a week on the US$77 minimum wage, and shared their experiences.

Often, such attempts at empathy are publicity stunts and no more. The world knows that trading some temporary discomfort is not that meaningful. But, Dr. Ferguson is going further: he’s seeking the full Monty of sickness. Now, I wonder if we had an Ebola outbreak whether he’d want to go through its effect. This is why I ask what is he trying to prove? The second plot loss was to issue new ‘statistics’ on ‘confirmed’ and ‘suspected’ cases of Chikungunya. I thought the numbers game was over. Most people can point to the new total of 61 confirmed cases in their own circle of contacts. What is this rubbish? In mid-September the minister accused the Opposition of fomenting panic over the virus. Yesterday, his boss brings politicians together in what is declared a national health emergency. If the good doctor is not out of touch with the reality surrounding him, then I’m not sure what is going on. Last week, the PM said she’d no reasons, yet, to dismiss her health minister. Is it yet, yet?

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