141 new HIV cases

Health Ministry permanent secretary Dr James Fong. Picture: ATU RASEA

Health Ministry permanent secretary Dr James Fong says it is alarming that Fiji has not been able to get a handle on the HIV pandemic in the last decade.

He said this during a World AIDS Day event yesterday where he announced 141 new HIV cases in the first six months of this year — news that has sent shockwaves because “141 was the number that usually happens over the whole 12 months”.

Dr Fong said during the COVID-19 pandemic, the situation “only got worse”.

“It is alarming though, that in the last decade we have not really been able to get a handle on the HIV pandemic.

“Likewise, during COVID-19 it only got worse and I am hoping that this current global issue, where Fiji has been highlighted within this global problem, will be resolved through a number of post COVID lessons that we have learnt.”

Dr Fong urged health workers to turn action plans into solid evidence of effort.

“At least we need to find out for ourselves whether all the training that we do, whether all the action that we do – is it turning into something that we can measure in terms of effort and ensure that effort actually realises the dream that it’s supposed to achieve.

“Because I believe that’s what we do not have – we make a lot of training, we do a lot of action plans but there is no tracking of the effort that is supposed to be generated of the action plan – and for as long as we don’t track, we do not quality improve.

“I want to see the evidence of effort because at least when you are making an effort, I can track the effort to see whether there will be an outcome.”

Dr Fong urged those present to be bold and accountable in terms of leadership.

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