Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 20th 2014 Contents What s the link between
the spread of the
chikungunya virus and
Health Minister s declaration in
Parliament that 50 per cent of
T&T s women are overweight?
Incidentally, dietitians say that
the overweight condition of
women can be equally applied to
The answer is that both are
public health issues that are cost-
ing the country millions in dollars
and pain by the loss of lives and
ill-health as the authorities do
battle with the two health condi-
tions and deal with the conse-
However, in the two instances
of dangerous health conditions,
individual members of the popu-
lation need to take some personal
responsibility for guarding their
In the case of the spread of the
ChikV, people are calling for more
spraying or for regional corpora-
tions to clean up overgrown lots.
But indiscriminate spraying allows
the mosquitoes that carry the
virus to build up resistance to the
chemicals. Additionally, an over-
dose of spraying with the chemi-
cals can have unwanted side
effects for some sensitive groups
of people, including the very
young and the very old.
In the case of abandoned bushy
lots, there are legal processes that
have to be followed by the state
authorities before such exercises
can be conducted.
Meanwhile, there are many
steps people can take to ensure
their own yards and surroundings
are free of the stagnant water
where mosquitoes breed. So too
in many yards residents must
take responsibility for clearing
their premises of bush and forms
of debris collected over a long
period of time which serve to
In their homes, residents also
have the option of using nets and
repellants to ward off the threat
of mosquito bites and also to
reduce the amount of skin they
Similarly, in the case of what is
becoming an obesity epidemic,
the State pays for the conse-
quences---and it should be noted
that payment comes through
individual and corporate taxes.
The reality here is that there are
tragically high levels of life-limit-
ing non-communicable diseases,
such as diabetes and heart condi-
tions, which may have been
encouraged by genetic and famil-
ial pre-conditions but may have
been brought on by lifestyles
which did not follow basic and at
times commonsense rules in rela-
tion to eating habits and
The Health Ministry now has a
Fight the Fat campaign that seeks
to educate people about how to
achieve and maintain a healthy
weight. But the ministry cannot
police personal lifestyles relating
to what people eat and drink and
how they live their lives, just as
the authorities cannot eradicate
So ultimately it s up to individ-
uals to take responsibility for their
own welfare, educate themselves
about how to eat more healthily,
what may happen to them if they
don t, and work out a healthy
lifestyle that meets their needs
and keeps them fit and happy.
Now in the world of today, the
so-called Age of Information, it is
not difficult for people to access
and receive information about
health issues and the reasons
behind the spread of the ChikV.
Moreover, in addition to finding
and utilising private sources of
information, it must be said that
the Ministry of Health has made
some effort to spread information
about the twin problems of the
virus and the consequences of
being overweight for easy access
by the population.
The lesson going forward not
only with regard to the health
problems facing the society of
today, is that each individual has
responsibility to protect his/her
health condition. It surely is not a
problem that can be completely
left in the hands of the public
ChikV, obesity weighing heavy on T&T
The lesson going forward not only with regard to the health problems facing
the society of today, is that each individual has responsibility to protect his/her
health condition. It surely is not a problem that can be completely left in the
hands of the public authorities.
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Scottish voters have spoken: They
The union that has weathered 307
years of storms. The turnout was
extremely robust, in the neighbourhood
of 85 per cent. That so many people
turned out in Scotland for the
secession referendum suggests what a
serious upheaval leaving the United
Kingdom would have been.
Now, the Lion and the Unicorn sit
down in the dining room of the humble
home they have officially shared for
three hundred years.
A hush falls.
"Is there anything I can get you?"
England asks. "Foot rub? More
Scotland ignores it.
"That kilt looks lovely," England says.
"This haggis is great," England adds. "I
didn't bring it up a lot during the
referendum campaign but I was going
to really miss it." "Calm down," Scotland
says. "I know you've been threatening
to leave for years," England says. "I
mean, other territories have come and
gone, but I thought we were still
strong. What we have is special, I
thought." "Oh, a special relationship?"
Scotland asks. "Like you have with the
United States?" "You know it's not like
that," England says. "They haven't been
with us for almost 250 years. Listen,
you've given us so much. Peter Capaldi,
there's a man. The poet Burns. Golf. Mel
Gibson.""I appreciate you. Think what I'd
be without you. Where would we keep
the royals during some seasons of the
year?" "Really?" Scotland says.
"It would have been really awkward if
you'd left," England says.
"That's true," Scotland says.
"I mean, I intend not to take you for
granted any longer. Things will be
different. I want you to know that."
"Do you mean that?" Scotland asks.
"Do you really?" "Oh yes," England says.
"You know I do." "Besides, if you'd gone,
think what Wales might have done. Or
Texas might get ideas."
Sound Off: Scotland is staying, what's next?
• Twitter: @GuardianTT • Web: guardian.co.tt
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