Misleading Media Headline on ventilators

Misleading Media Headline on ventilators

The Ministry of Health & Wellness takes note of a misleading headline placed on the front page of the Jamaica Gleaner today Friday. June 21, 2024 concerning ventilators in the public health system.

The inclusion of obsolete equipment in the calculation of ventilators that are in the system is both misleading and inaccurate.

The Ministry accounted for those ventilators which can no longer be used to give a full and transparent picture of what is on record. However, the Ministry clearly distinguished between ventilators which may no longer be used as opposed to those which were sent for servicing or parts replacement.

Outdated equipment such as beds or chairs which are in a permanent state of disrepair remain on file awaiting board of certification for disposal, which is normally a lengthy process.

A fair and more accurate conclusion by the Gleaner would be to say at the time of audit, fewer than a third of the ventilators were found to be out of circulation, whether due to being sent for servicing or for parts replacement.

These numbers are not unusual and would represent a more accurate depiction of the state of affairs. The Gleaner's sub-title, which states that half of the ventilators are dysfunctional, includes obsolete equipment, misrepresents the truth.

It is worthy of note that the more than 100 ventilators being active at time of audit represents the largest numbers in circulation in Jamaica. While this point was mentioned in the body of the Gleaner's article, it is clearly devalued by the misleading headline.