Processes ‘very effective’ and ‘working’

HEALTH and Medical Services Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete says the processes in place to monitor possible health risks posed by visitors into the country were ‘very effective’ and ‘working.’

In response to queries about lessons learnt from the recent deaths of American tourists David and Michelle Paul from a ‘mysterious’ virus, Dr Waqainabete said Fiji had developed a system over a long period of time that has proven to be very effective in addressing risks once they had been identified.

“We have a process that’s in place and we have processes when people enter the country, we have a significant presence in ports of call, we have questionnaires that alert us,” he said.

“We do look at our processes but this is something we have fine-tuned over a very long time.

“We have had a very mobile population for a very long time.

“Ever since the first foreigners entered Fiji and things like measles came in, we have had a very strong public health system in place.

“In the older days there were big changes to be made but as we matured over a long period of time, we have had to make very small changes.

“Around the world with the challenge of climate change, there are concerns around dengue fever and typhoid – it is adding fuel to the fire.

“We have an ambitious plan to eradicate communicable diseases over the next five years, we know it is a mountain to climb but we are going to do it.”

David and Michelle Paul passed away last month after allegedly succumbing to the effects of a ‘mysterious’ virus.

The couple from Fort Worth, Texas, arrived into the country on May 22. Michelle, 35, died on May 25 and David, 38, passed away on May 27.

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