Thursday 18 August 2022

Are the Tory Government making the same mistakes about Monkeypox as their predecessors made about AIDs?


Brent Liberal Democrat councillors and the Liberal Democrat Diversity Officer have written to Dr Melanie Smith (Brent Director of Public Health)  and Cllr Neal Nerva expressing concern over the prevalence of Monkeypox in the borough and suggesting joint action to push the Government into action.. 

Diversity Officer.  Edan Powel, said:

The Government’s seeming inaction shows a lack of care towards the most at-risk communities. To me and the Brent Liberal Democrats, it is sadly unsurprising that the Government are not taking Monkeypox as seriously, given that it is currently mainly affecting men who have sex with men. Parallels can be drawn to the way previous Conservative Governments responded to the AIDS crisis in the 1980s, a period of time that still haunts our community. We need urgent action now to prevent mass contagion.

The letter to Cllr Nerva and Dr Smith said:

We are writing to you with huge concerns about rising Monkeypox cases in Brent and across London. According to data released by the UK Health Security Agency on the 9th August 2022, our Borough is in the top 10 in London with the highest number of confirmed cases. This is alarming.

The World Health Organisation has already declared this a public health emergency of international concern. Therefore, we believe the Council must put pressure on the Government and the Department of Health and Social Care to make smallpox vaccines, approved for use against Monkeypox, available to eligible groups, especially in areas where the virus is currently increasing the most.

To date, impacted groups have very limited places to go to get the vaccine. A small Monkeypox walk-in vaccine clinic was open briefly at Guys’ Hospital, which was overflowing with people willing to get themselves and those around them protected. The Government’s seeming inaction shows a lack of care towards the most at-risk communities, and the DHSC’s disregard towards the NHS Constitution principles of bridging the health inequality gap.

As we know, Monkeypox can affect all; however, it is very important to recognise that it is currently disproportionately affecting men who have sex with men. It is not unsurprising therefore that the Conservative Government is not taking this seriously, given their party’s track record of discriminatory policies during the AIDS crisis of the 1980s.

People’s health and lives are not a game. We must collectively call for urgent action to protect the health of all. COVID has been a real wakeup call and even though many have recovered from the COVID virus, some still live with the damage that the virus has done to their bodies. We should not wait to find out what the long-term impact of mass contagion of Monkeypox could be. There is an opportunity to contain the spread of Monkeypox – let’s work together to push the Government to act now.

Kind regards,

Cllr Anton Georgiou, Leader of the Brent Liberal Democrata , Cllr Paul Lorber, Deputy Leader , Cllr Hannah Matin, Liberal Democrat Councillor for Alperton, and  Edan Powell, Brent Liberal Democrat Diversity Officer

I undesrtand that no response has been received as yet but will publish when available.

Information about Monkeypox from Guys and St Thomas' Hospital on this  LINK

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