Despite medical disparities; more men ought to recognize the reason behind pink in October

This silent killer affects dudes too

The month of October is also when countless women gathered in pink across the globe from all races, cultures, and economic backgrounds in multiple awareness platforms.

It is not about girls’ power-grabbing, as one friend expressed. Simply put, it is to eliminate a silent killer called, “Breast Cancer, and men get it too.”

Our health is more than once a year during October walk , run and wearing pink. It is supporting families who may have lost a loved one, still battling, or survived, and raising more funds for research to find a cure.

It is more than a few tweets, on November 19, each year that is recognized as International Men’s Day. Though it focuses on men’s health, enlightens gender relations, stresses the importance of male role models, and promotes positive languages of masculinity, it equally must address the barriers and taboo some males have to deal with regarding their health.

Cancer remains a personal issue and not a water cooler conversation, and I believe more men must establish a bond to inform themselves about their medical problems.

This issue does not need waiting until a prominent person comes forward to inspect our bodies- (man’s parts).

Awareness is key for changing patterns, and willingness to change are key

When the “Me-Too” movement against sexual harassment and assaults gained traction, many men surrendered their influential positions. Some went mute, and it convicted a few for their terrible behavior. Although some denied and minimized their actions; what this topic has achieved, created more attention to this once-hidden subject.

Photo by Tara Winstead

But irrespective of the opinions made; “consciousness” is key in any society to develop new road maps for a more suitable quality standard of living that include; physical health, family, education, employment, wealth, freedom, tolerance, environment, and safety.

Awareness is key in any civilized society that is repeatedly forced to considerable reforms, and we should collaboratively develop an understanding of ourselves in many neighborhoods.

Even though male breast cancer is very rare, medical reports have shown that they diagnose 350 males each year and it is also affecting adolescents and not only men between ages 60 and 70. Early detection remains the key and essential examinations might save lives.

Because men do not slip on a bra or have breasts like women, it does not eliminate men from getting breast cancer, and we must debunk this stigma.

It is a malignant tumor that starts from cells of the breast, according to medical experts. “A malignant tumor is a group of cancer cells that may invade surrounding tissues or metastasize to other areas of the body.”

If you are reading this opinion, I am not a celebrity who was diagnosed with the disease to influence a doctor’s visit within the next 24 hours. However, I have family members and a friend of a friend who died from this disease.  

Photo by RODNAE Productions

Know the signs and ask questions

Sadly, if you have less access to a decent and affordable health care system, chances are; you may be one of several families still searching for answers as to the exact cause of death for a loved one. 

The medical profession classifies breast cancer symptoms like swelling of nipples, discharge, rashes around the boob. It is also where millions of cells and hormones are found in boys and girls during puberty, swelling of the chest area or lymph nodes under the arms.

Frequently, when some patients realized this disease, it has already entered its terminal stage. Not everyone possesses the financial means to leave their local communities to get excellent treatment.

Simply replacing the word “Women Issues” with “Men Issues,” especially black men, several other social-economic topics will dominate like, criminal justice, higher unemployment rate, poverty, violence, less access to healthcare.

R.D.

According to the International Journal of Caring Science and other leading oncology studies, the risk for males is less than for woman’s breast cancer. However, it remains high, especially for men with a history of the testicular complaint, and ones with a genetic predisposition, radiation, excessive alcohol use, liver disease, and obesity.”

Medical experts noted that cancer was associated with and considered as a “lady” disease which affected their woman’s parts, the breast, and womb.” And that belief remains a dangerous weapon against one’s health issues.

Often beneath that tough-guy image, he needs your support. Yielding our vulnerability makes of look weak from the pressures of society, and the way culture and modernization process led us to believe.

For example, many men would openly admit they relied on Viagra for sexual dysfunction because self-confidence was as important as his influence. This attitude sometimes forces some from visiting even women doctors or to take part in pink or a walk to generate more awareness.

Quietly, tackling men’s breast cancer and other medical issues remains a taboo woven in social stratification, illiteracy, and medical disparities

Many leading Cancer Society lists a few basic questions your doctors should ask:

Do you have breast pain?

Do you have a lump?

Nipple retraction, or skin changes?

How equipped is your doctor?

How informed is your physician?

Where does he or she receive their training?

The success percentage of treating this disorder or any other?

Collaboration with other practitioners?

Do you have an external evaluation of your labs?

Access to good and affordable health care saves lives

The International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) has developed standards that many countries have adopted, and some of these rural facilities could implement more rigorous oversights along these shores in the delivery of competence services.

The Center for Disease and Control (CDC) reports that people of color suffer from a more elevated rate of being affected by this illness, including other cancers.

The ongoing debates between cost and quality of care, and how many patients’ life savings have been depleted by years of medical office visits without the precise answer?

In many communities today, access to proper healthcare remains a wall between the haves vs. have nots. The lack of social obligation by several elected leaders whose economic agenda in all political parties failed to confer inadequacies, and where under-funding of critical facilities only added more burden.

The absence of accountability, resources, and the sheer number of people in the care of one doctor, the high cost of treatment to accurate referrals can also deter others from seeking medical attention.

In a good deal of poverty-stricken and developing countries, often distrust, distance to adequate facilities is like the high rate of unsolved crimes in closed files. These patients frequently try alternative medicine, not only for breast cancer but other diseases.

Failing to recognize professional limitations can cause other barriers, such as correct medical equipment to diagnose these symptoms to well-trained staff is important. And they must address the idea of upfront payments before they can admit one.

In addition, the extended waiting period to be seen or admitted for treatment, why to bother to show up,” one person argues.

Equally significant, an attestation that decent treatment is being administered should be more important than profit, as personal ethics should not conflict with care and accountability. Misdiagnosis or delayed treatment only creates more questions when one dies.

In these tragic events, many upset families are often left with questions or abandoned. To prevent these medical erosions, it starts with an accurate analysis to make sure they provide precise answers to build confidence in many of these medical systems; especially in impoverished communities.

Today, many families are not exactly certain if it was cancer, heart attack, malpractice, diabetes, raised blood pressure, or the prescribed medicine. To prevent these medical erosions, it starts with an accurate analysis to make sure they provide correct answers.

Building a brotherhood for early detection.

This very day, I believe that more men should pause; regarding their health, create a brotherhood to fight against breast cancer and other diseases that can provide a platform to engage and not isolate from fear.

Furthermore, design similar approaches, such as political campaigns often used to advance local political leaders’ agendas to elected offices, that often fail to address community healthcare issues that are critical to the quality of life.

This October and beyond, I urge more men to take a stand for good health: Colon cancer, elevated blood pressure, diabetes, mental health, heart disease, substance abuse, and other illnesses.

Despite the barriers for people who are uninsured and are less likely to receive medical care and more likely to have poor health status, as studies have shown, there are few excellent physicians tucked away in many small communities.

Embrace even if today’s medical check will be carried out by a woman doctor. The local home-grown and self-medication may reduce symptoms, but it will not cure this disease, and many other men will face it in our lifetime.

Male Breast Cancerawareness and beyond the nipples

Men’s health, in general, will continue to endure challenges navigating the socio-economic divide, taboo, disparities distrust, and access, and breast cancer is not the only potential medical check that should be on your list this year:

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto

They may be limited because of resources, but they play a critical role where early detection is critical in saving lives, and unnecessary financial burden often when it is too late to reverse course.

A healthier tomorrow starts with scheduling an appointment with a knowledgeable physician.

The next Father’s Day gift may be to accompany a cherished one to the physician.

Regardless of socioeconomic status, race, culture, religious belief, gender, location, we are all linked and cancer does not discriminate.

Finally, allow the doctor to acknowledge your concerns even if it only makes up a psychological intervention until the next exam.

COVID-19: Vaccine, Politics, Socio-Economics and are some Caribbean islands pricing themselves out of a return visit?

The Hidden Engine:

The Caribbean tourist industry has been its economic engine. It is the most tourist-dependent in the world according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), and the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). For some islands experts also noted that tourism accounts for upwards of 40 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Photo by Asad Photo Maldives

Since COVID-19, travel spending has suffered an unprecedented 42% annual decline (roughly $500 billion) from 2019. International travel and business travel had the sharpest declines, and experts have noted spending fell 76% and business travel spending fell about 70 percent.

Several decades ago, manufacturing areas like sugar, banana, coffee, poultry, and bauxite; played a key role in sustaining the economy. These jobs were the balance between the service economy that provided what established the middle class.

Sadly, many were sold to foreign investments; and many jobs moved elsewhere because of globalization and the development of technology. These investments also followed cheap labor and better tax incentives like tax breaks, grants, reduced costs of opening or expanding a business facility, and free job training.

The companies that remained for about a decade were no longer competitively priced or folded due to massive imports, poor management, and reduced production.

These closures affected communities from local stores, restaurants, bars, and street vendors who depended on these operations. It has increased unemployment, widen the gap between the haves vs haves-nots; especially for the dominant Caribbean islands like Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Haiti, Dominica, Jamaica, the Bahamas, and other parts of Latin America who were already looking for an economic booster shot.

It has created an extremely social divide, that made it worse for generation by a generation where poverty and inequality have been on the rise regardless of the political side in power. It seems today, more charity organizations asking for aids rather than a platform to develop innovation for the next generation who will be key to the sustainability of these shores.

Taking from Peter to Pay Paul:

Globally, there is an increase in commodities; prices of home building materials even for preparation for school since the pandemic. Additionally, supply chains contributed to increased volatility in import, export, and producer price many leading economic data have shown.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska



COVID-19 has caused an economic shock three times worse than the 2008 financial crisis, economists notes. But nations who were unprepared suffered the more. Though many blame their ongoing financial problems on lock-down, it is not the sole issue.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, there are reports of enormous fare hikes from taking a local taxi from an airport to a hotel lodging. Sadly, it seems to represent an opportunity for prior lost revenue and will discourage future trips, especially for budget-stricken travelers.

A simple COVID-19 test few argued as required or visiting and departing typically run between 20-35 US dollars. I have spoken to recent travelers who visited Jamaica that it can cost about US$80.00, and that varies depends on the location to get back on a flight.

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch

Another traveler complained that while at airport checkout custom fined her for items because she may have forgotten to take off a sale tag. For several natives going on vacation, it is not unusual to purchase a new set of clothing.

These connected visitors often purchased items also to be given away or returned if not worn. Even a few extra boxes of protected masks to support aunt Jane is being seen as a business trip. In addition, reports items missing after inspection of luggage to clear check out.

Reports have shown excursion trips almost double in cost. Some of these businesses were already struggling financially before the pandemic. It is like you are simply paying for others who are hesitant to travel.

Despite the pandemic risk, some will continue to travel due to heritage, cultural connections, while others just need a mental break.

These deep-roots vacationers’ trips to an authentic small restaurant tucked away on a lovely rural hillside or a small beach shop away from the populated areas with an aunt, grandparents, uncle, or siblings play a pivotal role in the off-the-grid economy disposable income.

Vacation is also beyond the beach and now into urban centers, taking in historic sites and cultural events.  Travel reports have shown there was a growing influx of travelers in places like Europe and North America, and part of ASIA before COVID-19.

Photo by riciardus

Visiting and spending out of protected tourist zones is like direct remittance, where countries like Haiti, Dominican Republic, Guyana, and Jamaica alone accounted for almost ($10 Billion USD) annually according to IOM UN Migration.

A delicate balance:

The pandemic has created tension in the local communities where government officials struggle on what businesses should remain open or close temporarily. Health ministers also argued many visitors to the region were not adhering to the safety protocol, and I believe they should.

Managing the number of incoming visitors some of whom may not have been vaccinated and the local economic impact is a delicate topic. This pandemic has put leadership decisions between a rock and a hard place. It is a balancing act closing the local economy because others will die from the lack of an economic vaccine.

R.D.

Even though many locals have complied from social distancing, wear masks, and are vaccinated, frustration continues. Some argued that locals are being locked down, while visitors are allowed to move freely and party.

The lack of consistency in local guidelines, from what business will be closed, or street will be blocked to enforce curfews to the type of transportation allowed to operate only add to the frustration.

Many argue it seems leaders are utilizing these times of fear, anxiety, and economic uncertainty to gently push in a direction to gain despotic political power through restrictions. Though it may not be a push to reduce democracy; freedom only comes through knowledge, and reasonableness is only possible if talk achieves consensus. 

COVID-19 survival is like an underground business operation. It is a balancing act navigating the pandemic risk for their economic viability. So, many people march to their drumbeat.

Those who are well-connected, wealthy, politicians and who can afford to self-quarantine, healthcare access, and more than likely already vaccinated; often seem to be the ones who are jabbing fingers and scorned at those who break curves rules, or demonstrating crying for help.

Overcrowding at a local hospital

Some locals are concerned that the healthcare systems had already been struggling in keeping up with critical needs. Additionally, while this surge pushing hospitals to the brink with the worst still likely ahead, the pandemic has exposed its inefficiency, from limited bed space to overcrowding to mitigate this pandemic and other key issues before the outbreak.

Despite the blame game, and people who still traveling, I believe anyone who tested positive for COVID-19 or has other medical issues and is aware of potential medical hurdles would not risk their lives to navigate a few islands’ healthcare systems.

Another shot not in the arm.

Sadly, many politicians in these impoverished and developing counties are like dealers in a casino; they always come out ahead; including other well-connected people. They are salaried employees on the people’s taxes and the impact of this pandemic is less severe.

On top of a fragile economy; local communities coughing up an economic virus that had already been dormant just waiting on a strain to be reactivated. The pandemic has put the region’s governance under the microscope and exposed the fragile labor force and the poor.

Photo by Julia Volk

For decades, it looks like leaders have been playing poker economics where no one knows the outcome of the hand dealt, expecting and promising a more reliable hand each election cycle since independence from once colonial rule.

Today, many educated students are waiting to join a list of call centers with high student loans and limited job opportunities. The idea of purchasing a small house off the grid from a modest job is becoming more challenging.

Some reports show three out of four youths are unemployed. Many students are not achieving the critical academic requisite from the lack of resources, even heading back to the classrooms that were already overcrowded.

Yes, with high unemployment and undervalued currency, dwindling middle class, and increased poverty is breeding added violence from robberies, murders, and criminal assaults.

Generally, any increase in price on basic goods and services such as; bus fare, taxes, groceries, fuel, or government services, and if wages remain stagnant and have not budged in decades, families must cut back somewhere.

Often especially for basic food supplies, prices can vary from the adjacent store a few steps away, with little enforcement only adds to the economic struggles.

Several reports have shown nearly nine in ten voters say they are concerned about inflation, the rising cost of living, and limited job prospects and financial uncertainties have created more economic fever and financial strokes.

What next?

The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has been meeting to discuss a global coordinated partnership on the impact of the Coronavirus on world travel and tourism, according to reports, but who is at the table for the impoverished nations?

Photo by August de Richelieu

With the cost of living increasing globally, the pandemic remains unpredictable, more young people are becoming infected in the region and dying.

Many communities are not even close to a first dosage, where access to the poor, frequently seen through the eyes of politics can be difficult, while others are on the second, or even getting close to a third.

There are reports of people still refusing to be vaccinated. However, I believe that there are no more valid excuses for not being vaccinated other than health reasons.

Many impoverished people who were already left out of the economy instantly feeling the brunt of an outsider; especially the ones who refuse to be vaccinated. It seems they are the ones should be rounded up like slaves when they voiced their concerns.

Often reaching out with a small support group with a conversation about the vaccine may help some hesitancy due to people’s conflict with religious ideology, distrust of their leaders, or ignorance.

Nurses, doctors, and scientists are key in public health awareness and dispelling myths communicating with and educating patients and caregivers about the benefits of vaccination and vaccine safety.

One hope is that access to this vaccine, does not become for sale or used as a political platform for future election votes across some of these shores, and elsewhere.


The sun will rise again on these shores, and if people follow the science and recommendations, it may lead to less need for targeted price hikes.

Photo by Jonathan Petersson

There must be a balance where everyone can navigate this recent significant change; support each other regardless of your political views, locals, incoming and departing visitors working collectively where no one felt left out or pressured to have a sense of normalcy.

See you again soon!

OH-DEAR!

We~ Are~ All~ in ~It ~Together~ Podcast`

Sadly, too many in our community are being deprived of their rights to a fruitful, peaceful life, and the pursuit of happiness.

Calling Grandma 25 years ago

COVID-19 Vaccine Reality In The Caribbean And Impoverished Nations

BY R.D MILLER

Facing the reality for a quick shot in the arm.

COVID-19 has affected every person unsympathetically and in profound ways and though several vaccines being developed globally by companies like AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna. However, distribution for normalcy remains inequitable despite what experts recommend to save millions of lives.

Photo by Alena Shekhovtcova

These biotech companies are leaders with immense resources for R&D and manufacturing capabilities that have produced hundreds of millions of doses, but how do you balance profit, shareholders wealth, charity, and humanity for the poor?

Simply put, poor, developing and impoverished countries do not possess the economic power, population size to leverage, or have a seat at the negotiation table like Canada, U.S. Australia, U.K. Brazil, and other industrialized nations.

The coronavirus data has shown from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) kill more impoverished people; [ black and brown], and they are less likely to receive the vaccine.

The inoculation for many Latin America, the Caribbean, and African nations; decades of disparities, distrust in the vaccine, social disadvantage, and inequality in healthcare institutions and other systematic issues will not be erased overnight.

Sadly, this much-needed vaccine arrival will be slow or extremely late, but will have a positive impact. The only hope for several regions may be through the World Health Organization, the UNICEF, COVAX, or NGOs, procurement and distribution like previously donated PPE’s, and ventilators.

Further, many hope that when they arrive in these communities, these critical vaccines do not become for sale, get lost in politics, distribution and create additional barriers for the downtrodden.

Help may be closer than the Caribbean imagining if they can tango.

Beneath the strategic big biotech power, medical experts noted Cuba has four vaccines, one of which is now going through phase-three trials. However, many leaders of these poor and developing regions are standing on the sideline. It is more about how few other nations would regard them. Therefore, opted to stay out for now balancing infection rates, deaths, global image, politics, and diplomacy.

Photo by Yuting Gao

Because of Cuba’s regime, and less global economic power, its excellent work in the medical field has often overshadowed. And often get caught up in the geopolitical package. This is not to minimize Cuba’s Communist system or calling for its vaccine. However, Cuba occupies one of the highest ratios of physicians per capita in the world, according to the United Nations.

Reports showed that Jamaica for example welcomed 137 Cuban doctors in March 2020 and besides over 250 already practicing there. While some Caribbean islands have had their sights set on places like the U.S. and China, Russia and India for their vaccine supplies, I believe nationalism will turn into the focus before opening the barrel to go elsewhere.

Furthermore, other reports have shown that many rich countries have bought enough doses to vaccinate their entire populations three times over.

Medical professionals noted that China has about four vaccines near the approval stage. India has two vaccines that are at the concluding stages of approval.

Stinging the hand that nourished you

Late last year, local reports noted that the Jamaican government announced it was uninterested in Cuba for supplies of the COVID-19 and that they did not identify any reason to engage Cuban as a choice for Jamaicans.

Many argued the choice was beyond a shot in the arm, and that may come back haunting the community that is in need. “And it was a political decision to minimize Cuba’s support for Jamaica for decades trying to erase history.”

A few months later, the Ministry of Health, Dr. Christopher Tufton, reversed that stance according to local reports. Another person argued.“the administration recognized who was their genuine friend inside the geopolitical battle over COVID-19 vaccinations and had to walk it back to reality, but it was a welcomed decision.”

The marriage especially between Jamaica and Cuba, the Caribbean and Latin America, is complicated, but they stick together through difficult times, remain faithful to one another and resolve problems.

It is a socio-economic and cultural umbilical cord from the days of slavery. However, today it depends on what political party is in power, this cord can be stretched thin or cut off.

After the Coronavirus had overloaded many medical systems, Cuba deployed doctors worldwide. Though the debate continues, who benefits whether doctors or the government of Cuba, reports also have shown for a nation of about 11 million people, over 40 countries benefited from their doctor deployment.

And given the reported long-term effect for those who survived this virus, these doctor’s services will remain vital.

Very often on Caribbean shores, it is alluring to show a nation’s bravado attitude, but when citizens are dying in an economy that will develop more symptoms, a delicate alliance outweigh political ideology. Sure, elected leaders must work with local doctors, follow the science-to ensure that all vaccines are tested, approved, and safe.

Let’s be COVID-19 friends even for today.

Many leaders recognize some nations present a tremendous global threat to humanity. They have grave human rights violations, corrupted with some brutal regimes. But beneath these public outcries, many recognize areas of strategic categories, and maintain business transactions as usual from quantitative analysis regarding what a nation has to offer.

Photo by Laura James

A recent report has shown the Republic of Turkey agrees with China, and Argentina turned to Russia for supplies. Brazil Latin America’s largest nation who approved a reported 100 milling doses made by Sinovac and China to undertake immunization.

The Caribbean should come together as one body to exercise collective power to decide what pharmaceutical company best suits these island needs to fight this pandemic. It starts with reporting the accurate number of deaths from the disease, infections, testing, and tracing.

COVID-19 does not discriminate regardless of race, sex, creed, color, socio-economic status, or political system, or location. If one island suffers from an acute fever leading to a stroke, it will wash onto other shores.

All medical packages, regardless of location if analyzed, proved to be safe and can change course should be considered. Going alone or playing chess may be an excellent idea, but power is in numbers.

It seems these impoverished and developing countries’ altar calls failed to realize that the industrialized Jesus they have prayed to deliver is busy looking out for some who are closer to their pulpit.

A history of tight rope decisions and delicate diplomacy.

Often diplomacy is transactional, and though some leaders frequently intervene, confront and condemn other nations’ issues from a moral standpoint especially, human rights violations, urging the free transfer of power, and other atrocities committed by ruthless leaders. However, there is a thin line some follow for critical economic, long-term profits.

Photo by Allan Mas on

It is a quantitative analysis as noted above and calculation regarding multilateral alliance to make sure that, despite an open condemnation; beneath the surface; upward mobility for their people is uninterrupted from what the nation may have to offer.

One example: Nocolas Maduro, prime minister of Venezuela on January 23, 2019, Nicolas after a violently fraught election that filled with questions according to reports. Maduro said he was the recognized president, while others recognized Juan Guaido as the interim president and the head of parliament after the country’s election.

Nicolas Madura

The election divided the country into a downward spiral economically, and criminally with a high death toll. Human Rights organizations noted that Nicolas Maduro’s regime has been brutal against opposition and several human rights violations, killings, and jailed political leaders.

In March 2020, reports noted that several Caribbean countries like the Bahamas, Haiti, Dominican Republic, and St Lucia, and Jamaica and other nations united and condemned Venezuela after meeting with several international leaders. Russia, China, Iran, and Turkey back Nicolas Maduro, several European countries back Guido.

The condemnation of Maduro may affect tourism and other businesses, but the moral compass often meets head-on with reality to choose, forced or not.

Though Maduro’s system of government should be held accountable for the reported atrocities; few scholars described many Latin American countries condemned Maduro’s actions. But they stop shy of cutting diplomatic connections, despite what they believe, may have influenced them to join for only a promise of an economic package.

In contrast, the Jamaican Gleaner reported, a former member of the opposition party, Lisa Hanna asked the local government should reconsider its proposal to close its Embassy in Venezuela stemming from the political turmoil.

Sure, personal safety is paramount, and new leaders may have taken on a different approach where the appetite or access to cheap oil cannot replace humanity, but every so often to correct a friend’s leadership, one may need to engage hoping for a change of direction.

Under former President Hugo Chávez, as many consider his socialist ideology, provides fuel for neighboring countries to support impoverished and developing countries.

Venezuela was once one of the world’s dominant oil countries and has been supplying crude oil to the Caribbean for decades. PetroCaribe, the regional oil cooperative Venezuela created in 2005. PetroCaribe supplies about 14 out of 16 from the (Caribbean Group of the African, Caribbean, and the Pacific States) according to reports.

However, recent reports noted that production has diminished. Now Venezuelans have seen a tremendous increase in oil price and waiting for several hours to purchase fuel and an ever-widening gap between the have and the have-nots.

Many experts attributed it to years of mismanagement, corruption; including sanctions that have crippled the local economy. There is also what some consider two sides to these decisions. It is possible some leaders who sever diplomatic ties were aware of the nation’s decline and formed other alliances for their sustainability.

A delicate of dance for delivery.

These decisions to sever ties with other nations forced or not is complex for the Caribbean, African and Latin America nations. However, the economics of COVID-19 is not like trading sugarcane, bananas, coffee, citrus, bauxite, precious metal, yams, ackee, or other vegetables. It is the health of a nation to produce these things.

Photo by Isaac Taylor

These elected leaders possess the right to decide from where to get the COVID-19 vaccine to other trade agreements. They constantly must walk carefully but often have a bad toe keeping up with powerful world leaders.

Regardless of where the vaccine comes from, leaders should condemn human rights violations, reject rogue regimes, violence but also balance uncertainty, and still be strategic in getting much-needed help.


We can only get these through equal access to education`[Podcast`]

Photo by Christina Morillo

While humanities strengthen our global views, broaden our intellectual foundation to become successful, it only possible through equal access to education.

COVID-19: The long-term socio-economic gap facing poor and developing countries.

BY R.D. Miller

The humanity of education:

The COVID-19 pandemic has had serious implications beyond the spread of the illness itself and efforts to quarantine or social distancing. Many have lost their jobs, companies have closed or sales have gone down. With over a million people die and another 70 million infected and rising, there are several untold and unseen consequences.  

coronavirus under the microscope.

Unfortunately, many lower-income families in impoverished communities in poor and developing countries do not have access to the global space of learning to rebound on par with the rest of the rich counties, states, school districts. Several classrooms already needed an upgrade before the pandemic.

Many are already crowded, low performance, old run-down buildings deemed unsafe for both children and teachers; including a high student-teacher ratio. In some of these school systems, students had to attend schools in morning and afternoon shifts.

Though it is not an effortless task, the pandemic has exposed how fragile economies were, and the lack of focus on the educational system before the pandemic.

Experts noted these students will miss out on face-to-face socialization process critical to the child’s development, as until this global health pandemic, run its course.

Reports have shown several schools who conducted classes following the guidelines of social distancing and mask, later had to close from new infections. In addition, these schools have the resources, from proper ventilation, adequate classroom size.

While discussions between communities about what is the best course of action to mitigate the effects of science, politics, vaccination and resources regarding fair distribution. The reality for many impoverished nations this remains a complex issue, and where some may not or have a classroom to return because of the lack the critical resources.

Photo by Pixabay

Besides that, many will refuse the vaccine for cultural, religious reasons and a history of distrust in fear of being used for its development. However, hidden between the clinical trials, vaccination, hesitations, death toll, and infections that have been increasing; hunger, poverty, and starvation is killing millions, and this crisis seems to have taken a back seat or being overshadowed by many communities

What this pandemic has taught us is that the educational system is about teaching all regardless of race, sex, creed, culture, or socioeconomic status, and to build a nation and humanity, that will create a change in bringing our society to a perfect union.

Beyond the vaccine, science, and politics.

This forecast looks worse for impoverished nations and though it may not relate to a teacher’s engagement in this new normal distance learning, hybrid, but behind a camera, computer screen tucked away on a kitchen counter, at a cafe, or a corner office, and beyond the articles, opinions, COVID-19 occupy two different worlds.

While there have been political debates and promises about the COVID-19 stimulus package, or money distributed as reported in certain areas that lasted a trip to a local grocery store, and where elections have been won or lost because of pandemic management.

Unfortunately, many politicians are adept at winning elections, and then they learn the difference between campaigning and governing. Government is about accomplishing things, and usually a lot harder than being a politician. Some have limited skills, and we give them more tasks than they can do.

We have seen several political leaders issued tablets in many of these poor and developing regions, and it is a step in the promising direction, but that is where it stops. There is no access to the internet or resources to pay for access.

Technology experts noted though they may provide access regarding learning from a remote location, it lacks a keyboard, mouse, low processor, and limited research capabilities to work on projects. There are many young students out of the classroom and on to the streets to find their way. 

Poverty is like a dial-up speed to upload and download life’s journey, and it has held many students back.  It is a fact that COVID-19 has already shown signs that it is affecting school achievement, as experts have noticed. Reports have shown students since COVID-19 failing at an alarming rate. A recent test assessment showed lower scores for math, reading, and science.

The economic reality that cannot be masked

Before COVID-19, many poor and developing countries were struggling and risking high tides across the treacherous ocean as refugees to traveling to countries for an economic anchorage in an empty classroom anywhere. These systemic disparities today need a new fiber-optic connection to link hunger, education, and the pandemic into a single package on a long-term social contract like what they offer with your local cable company, broadband internet, television, and telephone.

Photo by Ahmed akacha

The middle class has equally been deeply affected, and the dreadful long-term reality of anxiety, fear, and uncertainty is appalling, as they expected poverty to increase, according to the World Bank. The report shows that between 70 and 80 million people will fall into more profound poverty. There were significant pre-pandemic disparities in many areas, like education, employment, and access to good, affordable health care.

On-campus or not?

In contrast to rich school districts that have adopted an excellent strategy with resources, new technology platforms, improved speed, computers, and uninterrupted access, virtual, in-classroom, or hybrid.

These wealthy districts’ parents often are more engaged, have the flexibility, and connection that can influence the next learning platforms that suit their schedules. And though there are concerns about students and teacher safety, as evidenced by the demonstration lines with the teachers and their union, that normally settles with the school’s budget.

On the other side of the city, even with access, this pandemic has devastated many families; especially minorities, people of color who have lost many families because of this disease. The healthcare disparities have caused more deaths in these communities, and whether online or in class, it will not fill the emotional sadness and gaps from any new classroom format.

Who will be there to comfort a student who may have to cope with a deceased parent or another family member to the disease? The fact is, COVID-19 already created a wider gap between the haves and the have-nots.

Unquestionably, students missed their senior proms, hanging out with friends, homecoming, and sports, as experts noted, critical to the student’s social and emotional needs. However, this pandemic will not be measured on these things alone, or political polls, but on the gaps that it will leave in our society.

Besides, the further setbacks in their educational, social, and economic development; a good deal of may not even be vaccinated based on location, and access again will remain a barrier.  The only ones who may come out as the winner are well-connected politicians where questions remain about the accounting of COVID-19 donated funds as reports have shown.

In addition, the investors as shares of pharmaceutical companies skyrocketed, but one still must give credit to the scientist who has been working and got society to this point.

Today’s multiple caps teachers: counselor, technical support, financial resource, attendance advocate

Studies have shown that teachers have a lifelong effect on schoolchildren that help them to believe in themselves, but parents will remain the most influential individuals in a child’s education and development.

COVID-19 has tossed many teachers into this unknown glass room, where everyone watching, hoping to get to know these kids through their gadgets that are often foggy while keeping 20-35 students alert.

The online setting does not provide an ideal platform to recognize all students, unique strengths, weaknesses, and motivation levels critical to keeping them all engaged virtually. However, it is a balance given the risk for new infections as no one knows how it is going to turn out from the vaccine to new variants.

We can argue that these students do not have the responsibility to go to work, the only commitment is to wake up, log in and take part, but I can see how many students’ grades may suffer even if a student had a high grade point average, before the Pandemic.

The personal check-in disguised for a few days

I monitored a few classes over the past three months, and I realized how tough teachers’ roles are in this new normal. Undoubtedly, a bonus for the ones who are mothers with instant access to their children from exposure to COVID-19.  Time again you get that, “I’ll be right back,” wearing two hats, but I understand.

Photo by Bich Tran

Even working in an environment, protecting the public and with the latest technology gadgets, my platform has its ugly days. However, as the week passed, it became more painless, and occasionally someone pops into this visual space, and maybe a school counselor and perhaps from parental feedback.

The students’ opinions that may be formed for a lifetime, may not have any outside discussion from one’s political beliefs, socio-economic status, culture, race, national origin, and how few view other groups, and a misguided history from some of these selective lectures, where it appears key decades in our/their history pains kipped to a much rosier picture in that period.

Some teachers are extremely helpful and understanding, while others, once they complete the slide, please check the folder to reply. What about those who may not have access to a closed online slide from that day’s class to refresh because their connection is away from the comfort of their home at a McDonald’s? 

The question that I kept coming back to, if these sponge brains do not have an outlet at this age in the future to talk about any disagreement, questionable section of these Power Points is critical to their development at lunch, on the playing field, in the hallway walking to a locker.  Let’s hope COVID-19 does not set us farther apart when we are all vaccinated and can return to normal.

Where is mum?

Missing in the debate:  
Employment
Daycare
Slow or No Wi-Fi

These parents deserve more support and resources like community groups. Even to help with an assignment. It’s critical to recognize and respect that every family and child has unique needs. Many parents have become substitute night teachers of the abundance of assignments and emails. If they cannot explain the material being taught, how will they help their child with homework?

The experts also pointed out that parents take note: Kids, teens, college student mental health problems on the rise.

More withdrawn than usual
Eating or sleeping too much or too little;
Getting irritable mood most days
Lack of interest in activities they typically enjoy.

Logging out for the day with concerns, but remain optimistic

Parents must be conscientious of several pop-up learning platforms being sold as an alternative by offering free computers and dedicated support. They must investigate like any sequence-based surveillance, laboratory studies, and epidemiological findings to make sure it does not leave them with an enormous financial burden and it does not prepare the child for the future.

Also, the increase in fishing to lure students from the virtual classroom to inappropriate websites and the best internet security alone cannot monitor these sites.

As society re-balances, I hope this pandemic creates a do-over where everyone can receive a legitimate shot to overcome these systematic gaps. Times are rough now, but if we prepare with a new balanced approach, I remain hopeful because education belongs to humanity and not a country.


Photo Credit: Forbes

Beyond October; and Purple-Another Look at Domestic Violence`PodCast

Part I-II

Today’s recap, my latest Podcast. Everyone deserves a life free from the threat of physical and psychological harm.

Sadly, too many in our communities are deprived of their rights to peaceful life by perpetrators of domestic violence.

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The color of governance in Jamaica: Choosing between a rock and a hard place`

BY R.D. MILLER

On September 3, 2020, the island of about three million people will decide to replace the locks or give back the keys and what party color they will hang for at least four more years as voters contemplate countless economic issues.

The election bag:

Economic pressure, unanswered promises, growing or shrinking economy, high or low unemployment, climate change, economic mobility, stagnation, who is less or more corrupted- high, low crime, how many murdered under what party, prosperity, poverty, a widening gap between the have vs. have-nots, high or reduced taxes.

Additionally, COVID-19 Pandemic, accountability of funds, old-new manifesto, but who is accurately counting depending on one’s political side. They will perceive these issues through the political glass, either half-full or empty.

Because of concern amid COVID-19, many voters and party officials questioned the timing, but prime minister Andrew Holness of the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP) seized the moment observing favorable poll numbers called for an election hoping for another 4 years to extend and tackle the socio-economic and crime dents that has been inside these communities’ neglected paint shop for many years.

An earlier Nationwide radio poll noted that about 64% believe that the Holness administration is corrupted, but maybe better to manage corruption. This report is suggestive is that. it is better to have these foxes guard the hen-house. This election continues to be about had they, should have, could have, maybe, and perhaps, and the past.

Once the whistle of the election rang, the two leaders, the players immediately activated on a non-stop color media bliss taunting the progress or lack thereof. COVID-19 social distancing as it seems relegated to the back burner of a nation-wide political campaign.

Unfortunately, no matter the circumstances, justification, rationalization, or excuses, bad things invariably follow if the life of a country is put at risk for personal gain.

This election debates for changing the economic tires, refueling these communities, repairing broken parts to get one of these two drivers the winning flag may simply come down to what side telling the truth or to a greater degree better at covering up the truth as the island battle for its soul consistency looking good governance.

Jamaica’s local politics typically operate like a contact sport where only the fittest survive. After the political colorful game is over, the economic strain will continue with injured community players sidelined from lost jobs to navigating students who may face distance learning in rural areas without resources.

Maybe same cars; different colors?

Peoples National Party (PNP)
Jamaica Labour Party (JLP)

Whether Dr. Peter Phillips, the opposition leader of the (People National Party (PNP) agrees with the election call. It is a delicate balance asking locals who have been neglected to purchase another ticket regarding their economic future. Both vessels with an upgraded soundtrack arguing better days are ahead while accusing the other are in the same murky water.

Any party loses is more than likely, that leadership will take the entire crew into an iceberg. The tribal toxicity in these campaigns leaves little room for compromise, even if the messenger on the other side has a good plan.

The leader that will emerge, rebuilding will continue to be a challenge. COVID-19, economic stagnation, crime, poverty, and yes, COVID-19 Blame Game Is Going to Get Uglier as this pandemic in an election will ruthlessly be exploited at the cost of people’s lives.

Chinese coronavirus 2019-nCov under the microscope. 3d illustration

The pandemic also provides a cushion to deflect the direct economic decline that has seen several local businesses closed, massive layoff as the service industry took a direct hit from reduced vacations, which is a vital portion of the island’s GDP. But in all fairness, it has caused a global shutdown of the global economies, but it also exposed how fragile these shores were.

Today, likely voters are stuck between a rock and a complex place. It may be from COVID-19 fear, easy access to polling stations for seniors, or from abandoned hope and trust may stay home. Jamaica will rise and can do better, but whose less tainted, or carries a permanent stain to continue navigating these ostentatious waters, roads, and hills.

 However, this fight should be about the nation’s future, environmental issues, actual trade deficit, balance sheet, investments, especially for the youths, and other key economic indicators for Jamaica’s real economic stability that will benefit all.

Will everybody love and benefit from the finished piece?

Bob Marley

The reality is as it seems; one side blemished, other imperfect while the downtrodden constantly being squeezed from decades of promises, distrust, and inadequate management, lack of up upward mobility as many argued that only political leaders seem to be the exclusive ones getting ahead.

An incumbent has an upper hand, and people may stick to the putrefaction because weeding through political tribalism is difficult and where governmental power is seldom based on real accomplishments, but personal time served in a cabinet and popularity, resources to paint a better picture than the reality.

This showdown may not come down to who won the debates; or command of what the nation’s needs are. The sole question communities should be asking during this political showdown, are they better off today, or foresee a future for the next generation. However, this election may come down to one issue, “safety,” which is a public health problem.

What is certain, the party that wins, will need to have a majority because there is no room for compromise even if the messenger on the other side may have a good message. Furthermore, it is more than likely, the loosing leader will take his ship into an ice-berg with down the ballot candidates?

The missing color:

It seems, “Out of Many One People” get cast aside when voters are whipped into a desperate frenzy, pitting communities against each other for temporary feel-good while the youths, downtrodden, teachers, law enforcement, public safety victims of crime, small businesses, and a vanished more educated middle class inside the body shop hoping someone fixes their dents from years of neglect and bumps.

After all colorful battles, these political parties should operate like primary colors where leaders can combine both sides to produce an excellent portrait. Continuous political fighting only makes it difficult to govern and paint a picture for a more promising future.

Jamaica’s prosperity is not the best beat on the street though it has its cultural significance; it is a single unemployed mother, dad, sons, daughters, cousins, grandparents, uncle on the hill debating if they should dance because after the music stops, what next?

“The rhythms being played may change, but on same vinyl, one argued.

Many argue that politics there, and in other poverty-stricken and developing countries, is like some aspects of the Chinese investments. They come to extract the minerals, and other natural resources and return cheap goods. However, what will change, not much.

Often only the rich, well-connected, and the politicians will continue to get ahead. Many will claim patriotism from their gated community, and continue to influence the political system to protect their profit margin.

Voting should be for the future, and not for temporary jobs or an overnight financial handout. In the long run, what about tuition, school supplies for your child’s education because you can’t announce an election to be compensated.

In this early stage, the island has made some strides in maintaining the pandemic, but leaders must be honest with itself and open a genuine debate from managing COVID-19, Tests, Treatment, and Trace (TTT) that will be critical from the reported uptick.

Hoping for a new blend: 

One glowing new color based on local reports, more than a few women have entered this election on both sides, and whoever is successful must demand a seat at the prime minister’s decision table.

Few Pictures from 2020 campaigns: Photo Credit JLP & PNP.

Women are under-represented, not only in Jamaica, but several other poor and developing countries across key positions to make critical changes from elected offices, civil services, private sector, or academia, scholars have noticed.

This political election will not severely lessen COVID-19 the next day, reduce crime; create affordable education, violence against women, better medical care, lower unemployment, increase bed space, or new necessary equipment to safeguard lives.

I hope after these colorful events, all people can find a combination of colors to renovate the nation as the region continues navigating the rough tides. It will take more than party devotion for this beautiful island to see hope over fear, fact over fiction.

Jamaica is not perfect and remains a vibrant place with hope and possibilities, but people must seek change from the bottom up and not the other way around. Regardless of what color wins, the nation must deal with several ignored rusts that yarns for a new upward mobility pain for sustainable development; transforming the nation.

An election is like art; it should create wonderful memories. As this shore tries to pick an image for brighter days between this rock and a hard place regardless of who has the next paintbrush, they must stay hopeful until everyone can genuinely enjoy these recycled portraits, add their color for both the country and personal prosperity.