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$5m fight bill

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Saturday, March 22, 2014

THE Health Ministry has projected spending up to $5million to combat the current dengue outbreak.

And its latest statistics show 15,446 suspected dengue cases, 12 deaths and four other suspected dengue deaths have been recorded so far.

National adviser communicable disease Dr Mike Kama said the ministry used $97,000 in the first phase of treatment from December last year to late January.

"The ministry had also budgeted around $1.2million for the second phase from January to the end of March.

"We have another budget action plan from now until June which will be the third phase and that amounts to around $5m give or take.

"That's the projected cost but we don't really know how much has been used and I can't really tell you about the direct and indirect cost."

Dr Kama said the ministry faced challenges in trying to deal with the growing dengue cases.

"We have got a surge in the number of cases, we are indebted with the numbers so this is in excess to the normal and excess resources are needed.

"The other major challenge we face would be trying to mobilise the community."

"The ministry has its own way of absorbing the cost and assistance from bodies like WHO and SPC and others has been of great help in the fight against dengue fever.

"This is an emergency situation, these are things that are not budgeted, but there are contingency funds that absorb such issues.

Dr Kama said it was not only a cost to the ministry but to all individuals who were affected.

He said they also updated respective embassies daily on the current situations.

"We are posting our advisories in most media outlets, Pacific networks for communicable diseases, brochures on dengue prevention to visitors that come to the country and we also provide travel information on the media and other bodies."

He confirmed the World Health Organisation and London School for Tropical Health had projected that Fiji may reach about 48,000 cases during the dengue outbreak.





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