All posts by Rajneshwar Prasad

YAKO JOINS COMMUNITY HEALTH AND FITNESS PROGRAM

Yako Village has become the latest community in the country to join the Community Health and Fitness Program following the launch by the Minister for Health and Medical Services Hon. Rosy Sofia Akbar at its village hall today. The village, through the programme, has received two fitness bikes, three sewing machines, and steam cooker sets.

Turaga ni Koro Samisoni Raidriwa said the villagers were honoured to have hosted the programme, adding that they would put these equipment to the best use.

“As the case in  Fijian settlements and villages, we only exercise when we are young, and as we grow older, we tend to stop doing things that help us stay fit and healthy,” he said.

“As a result of this we have five villagers who have undergone amputation. We have now realized the need to continuously engage in health and fitness exercises and we are grateful that we have now received these equipment.”

Minister Akbar urged the villager to use the equipment to its full potentials however, highlighted the need for the villagers to take ownership of the equipment through taking good care of it.

“I urge you all especially our mothers and the women of the village to also use this equipment because most of the time we are left behind but we must be able to stay fit and feed our family members healthy foods,” Minister Akbar said.

“Please take good care of the equipment because it is your equipment and everybody must take responsibility in its upkeep and maintenance.”

(Pictures from this event can be accessed from the Fijian Government Facebook page.)

Vaccination response to meningococcal outbreak at St John’s College Cawaci, Levuka

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MOHMS) has been working closely with the Ministry of Education and World Health Organization (WHO) to address the recent outbreak of meningococcal disease at the St John’s College Cawaci in Levuka, Ovalau Island.

Meningococcal disease is a life threatening bacterial infection that usually causes inflammation on the lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) and/or blood poisoning (meningococcemia). Whilst the disease is not common, it is a very serious illness that can develop quickly and cause death.

In response to the outbreak, the MOHMS sent a vaccination team to Levuka to vaccinate all students and staff at the college with the meningococcal vaccine, Sanofi Pasteur Menactra. Vaccination is critical to preventing the spread of meningococcal disease as the vaccine builds a person’s immune system to fight against the bacteria.

The meningococcal vaccine was supplied by the WHO and provides protection against meningococcal serogroup A, C, Y, W135. Testing of suspected case samples in Australian laboratories, facilitated by WHO, confirmed that meningococcal serogroup C was responsible for this recent outbreak.

The vaccine was administered by a single injection in the upper arm. This vaccine can cause some side effects, such as low grade fever, nausea, diarrhea, headaches and swelling where the injection was given; however the risk of serious side effects is extremely low. As such a team of medical staff were assigned to monitor all students in the school following their vaccination and treat any complaints.

In addition to the vaccination program, the MOHMS will continue to provide important meningococcal health information to equip students and staff with necessary knowledge about the disease and increase monitoring of students to support early detection and rapid treatment of potential new cases.

NATIONAL EMERGENCY MEDICAL TEAM (EMT) COUNTRY PREPARDENESS WORKSHOP

Suva, Fiji – An Emergency Medical Team (EMT) Country Preparedness Workshop began today at Pacific Harbour aimed in providing an opportunity for key country health and emergency service leaders to engage collectively and further strengthen national capacity to respond to disaster emergencies and outbreaks including events that require international Emergency teams.

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services with support from the World Health Organization is conducting an Emergency Medical Team (EMT) Country Preparedness Workshop. This is part of the commitment towards disaster preparedness, and experience in deploying national rapid response teams and accepting elements of the new global health emergency workforce (Emergency Medical Teams (EMTs), Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) The Government and Ministry of Health & Medical Services accepted a WHO proposal to run a GHEW workshop in late October 2016 to expand its capacity to respond and coordinate responses to emergencies in future.

The Fiji Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MoHMS) has created a technical working group (TWG) to manage the project and in particular the development of national EMTs and public health rapid response teams and improve the mechanisms for identifying needs, requesting and coordinating international assistance using the EMT coordination framework and access to expert groups such as GOARN. The Fiji EMT is known as FEMAT (Fiji Emergency Medical Assistance Team).

The workshop aims to help Fiji Islands national health response system better manage deployments for national clinical and public health teams to areas of need during outbreaks and disasters. It further is aimed to understand what the World Health Organization and partners support to national response efforts, how to activate and access teams and experts from international EMTs and GOARN. The workshop will be able to match country level risks and gaps with international EMT capacities as well help develop national response standard operating procedures (SOPs) at every stage of the response cycle to incorporate national and international EMT capacities.

The Deputy Secretary Public Health, Dr. Eric Rafai opening the workshop said that this training is aimed at bringing together a group of health professionals with supporting Ministries and partners to prepare for emergency health care specifically for disaster affected populations. He further reminded the participants that the Pacific was just a few days away from the next cyclone season and that this preparedness workshop was timely to revisit our collective effort for emergency medical responses to disaster and emergency scenarios.

Mr. Sean Casey, the Health Cluster Coordinator of WHO, Suva also spoke and pledged the support of the WHO Suva Office towards the EMT Pacific Initiative. He assured the participants WHO support in emergency preparedness and response capacity in the health sector.

The first day had participants from Ministry of Health & Medical Service, representatives from the Red Cross, National Disaster Management Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Representatives from the RFMF, Navy, Police and National Fire Authority, a representative from Fiji National University, the representatives from Volunteer First Responder and UN agencies.

The workshop is facilitated by WHO EMT Secretariat Team from Geneva, WHO Manila Office and WHO Suva with guest’s speakers also from the Australian Medical Assistance Team (AusMAT) and the New Zealand Assistance Team (NZMAT) teams. The EMT Pacific initiative is supported through the World Health Organization through the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs support. The workshop ends on Thursday.