Regular readers of my blog will know that from time to time I dip in to the blog ‘Voto en Blanco’ for inspiration. This week my esteemed colleague, Francisco Rubiales, under the title “Señora ministra de Sanidad, escúcheme usted” has reproduced an open letter from the Spanish daily newspaper “El Mundo” addressed to the country’s Minister for health. It was penned by Monica Lalanda, a medical specialist in emergencies.
Amongst the topics that Dr Lalanda picks up on is her thanks to the minister for selecting medical staff such as her for inoculation against Swine Flu because they are essential workers. She states: “suddenly I am valued as a national asset” then adds “but come and see my contract or those of the rest of doctors in this country. The vast majority work with contracts that would be a shame in the rest of the old Europe.”
Dr Lalanda also begs the question – why are Tamiflu stocks being kept under custody by the Spanish army? Many medics worldwide say that “the effectiveness of the antiviral against this flu is dubious” and only reduces the duration of symptoms and side effects for a short while. The doctor says that Tamiflu should be freely available in pharmacies as too should other rival products which are currently not freely available so “there are no panics from restrictions.”
However it is the doctor’s last paragraph that interests me most. It is not unknown for governments, specially the monarchs of the days of old, to start a war to divert the populace’s attention from the dire situation at home. Indeed in recent times “security threats” have been used as an excuse to reduce or take away our basic freedoms in the name of the “national good” or our presumed need of “protection”.
Dr Lalanda sees the Swine Flu campaign as a “smoke screen” now that the economic crisis continues in Spain with unemployment at historical high levels with taxes rises to combat the low GDP.
I agree. This winter normal flu will take more lives than Swine Flu but that statistic will not be mentioned. Instead governments around the world will tackle the quasi-threat of Swine Flu in the hope it diverts our attention from the real problems that blight our lives - problems they are failing to cope with.