Taking heed of warnings

Fred Wesley. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU

Fred Wesley. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU

THE Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has made no bones about the importance people must place on warnings about the deadly Meningococcal disease.

People, he said yesterday, must not take health advisories on the outbreak lightly. Reiterating the need for Fijians to take the warnings seriously, Mr Bainimarama said villages and communities in Fiji needed to ensure that clean-up for the Meningococcal outbreak should be done 10 times more than the clean-up carried out around the country for the recent outbreak of dengue fever.

“This disease has no cure. If the disease is there, it will quickly spread through the saliva,” he said.

“When I spoke about it in Navosa yesterday (Wednesday), many took it as a joke when I said there should not be any unnecessary exchange of saliva with another person,” Mr Bainimarama said.

“Many of you will take this lightly, but I ask you not to take it lightly. I ask you to practise good hygiene and ensure that you wash your hands frequently, especially the children before they eat.”

People who are sick have been advised to take precautionary measures when coughing and sneezing. The PM is part of a concerted drive to create awareness about the deadly disease.

In the face of the many niggling questions been raised, prevention is now critical. That means being aware of the disease, its causes and preventative measures that must be embraced.

It means people must be proactive. The fact that the disease has the potential to kill people is worrying.

Issues that will come to the fore include that of awareness.

There will be questions sinking in on the issue of why appropriate attention on public awareness was not forthcoming back in 2015 given the revelation that there were 1-10 cases reported prior to 2016.

In 2016, there were 29 cases and in 2017, there were 48 cases. There is major concern though that in the first two months of this year, 18 cases were reported.

The revelation is expected to inch out shock and great concern. It is worrying though that there are people who appear to be downplaying warnings. We must remind ourselves that this isn’t a disease that should be taken lightly.

It is critically important that people are reminded about the dangers associated with the disease. We must be reminded as well about the fact that it can be prevented.

Aside from vaccines, we should be embracing cleanliness as the PM has highlighted above.

We should be aware of the ways the disease is spread and take appropriate action.

It would appear that we are finding ourselves in a tight corner. There’s the dengue mosquito to consider. Now this! In the face of the predicament we find ourselves in, it would be a challenge to be positive.

But we must. Let’s stay safe. Together we can!