Posted by: bigtalksingapore | May 4, 2009

Lessons from the Swine (H1N1) crisis

I know this is kind of early, but I would like to do a little summary on the lessons that we can learnt from this crisis (Before I forget).
I’ll add in whatever I can think of as we goes along.
If you have any insight that you like to share, feel free to comment.

  • First on my list is that many Singaporeans are ignoring the crisis and continuing  ahead with their holiday travel plan (Attachment #1).
    It gets to show that many Singaporeans are “Happy go lucky” people. Which may be good in some sense (Contented people).
    Some of them may think “I’m very healthy, as long as I take care of myself, I won’t kanna the virus. Buy Toto also not so lucky.”
    Or maybe “I have been planing for this holiday for the past 6 months. I’ve used up all my annual leave, I’m not going to let anything ruin it.”
    Well, if these people are ignoring the danger sign, they should be ready to be infected and quarantined.
    They should also be prepared to be unable to return back to Singapore for extended period.
    And if they returned from their holiday, they should be prepared to be confined in those designate quarantine resort first before returning to their families. Come on, spare a thought for your family members and friends.
    .

  • We always hear advices from the doctors and experts that we should not take antibiotic unnecessary.
    This is for fear of virus mutating and developing resistance to medication and drug. It has already happened and is still happening.
    Now we look at the Swine flu (H1N1 A Influenza), the virus was suspected to be a combination of many virus within the pig. They called it a “Frankenstein virus”.
    Many animal farms are increasingly using medication (Usually antibiotic) on animal like pig, chicken, duck, cow and fish (and much more) to ensure that the animal grows to maturity so that it can be slaughter for sale.
    Is it time now to review the use of these medication and drug on animals ?
    Cos if there is no limit, we can expect a more potent strain of virus to mutate from these animals sooner or later.
    Perhaps WHO can set a guideline and accreditation program to make sure that the use of medication and drug is not abusive.
    Farms and countries that abuse the use of medication and drug on animal should be made public through the WHO accreditation program and website.
    .
  • Let us take a look at quarantine.
    Quarantine is the most effective method to contain the spread of virus.
    But how the quarantine process was done can create an international crisis. Look at the example of China (Hong Kong) imposing strict quarantine rules on Mexico visitors in Hong Kong (Attachment #2).
    Even an act by Singapore to impose temporary visa to Mexico invite protest from their government (Attachment #3).
    Sometime I wondered if the Mexico Government are taking advantages of these opportunities to “hammer” other nations so as to take their people minds off their current predicament.
    Still, quarantine is a must, but it should be done as humane as possible.
    Easy for me to say, so I leave it to the individual government (and scholars) to come up with a guideline and operating plan (If they are not already looking into it).
    .
  • While many nations are toning down their swine flu alert status, we should not forgot history and let our guards down.
    Look at what happened in 1918, the first wave of the virus was “friendly”, it was the subsequent wave that roared back and killed over 40 millions people world wide (Attachment #4).
    It looks like we just passed the first wave, will there be a second and subsequent wave ? We should learn from history.
    So, please don’t forget about your personal hygiene. Remember to wash your hand, cover your mouth when you cough with people around (Public or at home).
    And talking about coughing in public, there are still many people who cough indiscriminately in buses and MRT. So what I usually do is to bring my handkerchief with me. If someone cough like no tomorrow, I will take it out to cover my nose. It may not prevent the virus but I like to send a signal out to the coughing fellow that “I MIND!”.
    .

Attachment #1: 4 May 2009, My Paper, Page A4

20090504a1_singaporeanignorefluoutbreaktotravel_mypaperpga4

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Attachment #2: Today, 5 May 2009, Page 320090505D1_MexicoSlamChinaOverSwineFluDiscrimination_TodayPg3

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Attachment #3: Today, 5 May 2009, Page 3
20090505C2_MexicoSlamSingaporeForVisaRule_TodayPg3

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Attachment #4: Today, 8 May 2009, Page 4
20090508A1_WillSwineFluH1n1ComeBackMoreDeadly_TodayPg4

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