State cuts leave
Nasik Swami Tuesday, February 18, 2014
WITH the country going through a dengue fever outbreak, the Health Ministry has cancelled leave dates for all doctors in the Central and Western divisions.
In an interview last night, Ministry of Information permanent secretary Sharon Smith-Johns said the decision was necessary citing patient care was paramount.
“All leave have been cancelled and we now have more doctors rostered at the health centres to care for patients,” Ms Smith-Johns said.
“Yes. People are sick. There are doctors that have been rostered on to cope, and approved doctors are going to different places where there are more cases.”
She said the government had done as much as it could to contain the outbreak.
“We are still doing as much as we can but it gets to a point where the government and citizens need to work together.
“The government has been proactive in its approach to dengue.”
And with a total of 4600 positive dengue fever cases, Ms Smith-Johns said the number had slightly decreased by about 350 cases.
“So we know that there has been a slight downturn in the numbers that have just come in. That’s encouraging but it’s not to say that people may be sick and they may not be tested.”
She said the government had a proactive approach by advising people on what they should do such as cleaning their yards, making sure they had mosquito coils burning and using mosquito repellents when going out.
“People need to start taking note of the warning and they need to work with the government and to try and stop the spread of dengue, that’s the bottom line.”
Ms Smith-Johns said while hospitals were getting full, the outbreak had certainly put pressure on health centres but proactive measures were in place to ensure efficient patient care.
Reports of a dengue fever epidemic in Fiji cannot be confirmed or denied because of the country’s media restrictions.
There have been suggestions on social media that many people are seeking treatment for dengue fever, but the media cannot report on the issue unless the Ministry of Health officially makes a statement about it, which so far it has not. Radio Australia has made strenuous, repeated efforts over two weeks to find out if there is a dengue outbreak in Fiji, and if so how big it is, but both the Minister and Secretary of Health have not responded to requests for information.