Dr Fong: Flu affecting schoolchildren

Ministry of Health permanent secretary Dr James Fong, Ministry of Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport permanent secretary Shaheen Ali and Consumer Council of Fiji CEO Seema Shandil during the national workshop on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) at the Albert Park pavilion in Suva . Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

Ministry of Health permanent secretary Dr James Fong said one thing he took to heart was all the death and suffering people went through due to COVID-19.

During an interview at the national workshop on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) on Thursday, Dr Fong said the bigger tragedy was if people did not learn anything from those deaths.

“After COVID-19, many people have seen what had happened,” he said. “People have lost their loved ones who were already sick and have died.

“So we are hoping that those incidents we can leverage off and make us stronger, to go through an NCD-related program that allows us to go through prevention at all the levels.

“Because we have been given a lesson and we have been told where the problem is and if we don’t try to engage and leverage off the lessons that we have learnt then we are back to square one again. “On top of that is the fact of the changing world now.

“We expecting that there would be a lot more weather related climates, epidemics, and we had leptospirosis.

“Together with other versions of COVID-19 – other respiratory viruses that have started coming around.”

Dr Fong said a flu virus was currently affecting schoolchildren in Fiji.

“I can see some absenteeism in some schools are beginning to increase.

“So this is an ongoing thing, and the theme of unhealthy people being vulnerable to diseases, its been a theme that has been there for a long time.

“Year in and year out during the flu season, we have always seen our vulnerable people come into ICU because of severe versions but it’s just because nobody talks about it. It just so happens that COVID-19 is now around and people have been talking about it.”

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