Friday, March 02, 2007

National Service - 10th fatality


Suspend and review NS

The dust had hardly settled after the National Service (NS) transport fiasco in January and another tragedy had occurred, the tragic and sudden mysterious death of another trainee ,P.Prema. Hardly 3 years into the National Service programme and we have the death of 10 trainees in different training camps throughout the country.

All these deaths among the young are unfortunate and are unwarranted and it would be grievous fault on the part of the authorities to brush aside as isolated mishaps. It is a tragic loss to the families. Imagine the hopes and aspirations the parents would have had after toiling 17-18 years to bring them up only to result in their sudden tragic deaths in the form of national service that is not aimed to defend the nation.

Sending our young children for the NS training is very serious and major decision for parents.For many of us it has many emotional repercussions as is the first time they are separated from the family.Furthermore we are forced to submit them to a certain degree of risks while in training.

These deaths have obviously cast doubts on the quality of the training and the safety mechanisms that have been put in place. Is the system professional and capable enough to carry military type of training? Has it placed undue stress on the health of the trainees? How efficient and effective are the medical examination and resuscitative set up?

The government should seriously address these issues immediately. It should consider the feedback from parents and public seriously. The NS as it is implemented now should be suspended immediately and a full-scale investigation conducted into the way the trainees are recruited, medical checked and subjected to the subsequent training. This is necessary to prevent the loss of more lives in NS.

The NS Department has a lot of soul searching to do and it must do it immediately.Docility on their part will only create suspicion and doubts in the minds of the people as to the real motives of the NS program

In fact it would more effective to bring NS training to schools rather than sending the students to some remote areas which brings with it other unneccesary risks and added costs

Dr.Chris Anthony

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