Letters to the Editor: Saturday, July 24, 2021

Ministry of Health and Medical Services permanent secretary, Dr. James Fong. Picture: FIJIAN GOVERNMENT

COVID-19 misinformation  

SINCE Dr Fong has acknowledged that misinformation during  this pandemic has been a notable obstacle, does he plan to change the  current approach to counter misin- formation?  MOHAMMED IMRAZ JANIF Natabua, Lautoka


Daily press conference 

THE good doctor mentioned that Facebook was a platform used by those spreading misinformation, in the absence of real information, the folks will latch onto whatever is out there.

The daily press conferences has to resume and to also allow the  press to ask questions, this will ad- dress the highlighted concern.  NIGEL FIU Owls Perch, Lautoka


Addressing misinformation 

I’M glad that our editor-in-chief compiled a powerful editorial titled “Addressing misinformation” (FT: 23/07). He alluded to Dr Fong making no  bones about the need to fight misinformation which is in wide circulation.

Dr Fong was responding to social media claims on Facebook which provided the platform for lies and misinformation. Sadly, people tend to believe and share them. The editorial paves the  way for disseminating correct in- formation.

The media plays an important role in addressing issues, and I must salute The Fiji Times for leading the way. The 150 plus year old newspaper continues to reach out to ordinary Fijians with credible news.

The 2021-22 National Budget was well-presented from a neutral point of view. News is presented well, as per the  principles of journalism. I look for- ward to the letters to the editor column which contains a wide range of  letters and opinions.

The People column continues to inspire.  I look forward to the robust opinions in the Saturday edition, especially from the likes of Ajay Bhai  Amrit and Richard Naidu.

Then thanks to Sophie Ralulu,Ana Madigibuli and her team, Wednesday’s edition contains an informative and decorated Kaila piece, worth reading. The Business and Shopper Guide  provide valuable information.

Finally, the sports pages add thrills  and excitement to sports lovers. A complete package for merely a dollar- thank you The Fiji Times for being part of many families! RAJNESH ISHWAR LINGAM Nadawa, Nasinu


Disgraceful video 

THE disgraceful video  featuring one of the improvised FEMAT hospitals  leaves a lot to be desired (FT 23/07).

Dr Fong, please don’t denounce that woman, a  COVID patient for her daring shoot as she was merely  revealing the surroundings and the deplorable waste management facilities that infected patients have to compellingly endure and  absorb during their isolation period.

Moving forward, let’s bravely confess that Fiji’s  health structure is not adequately resourced to handle a crisis of this magnitude. I believe it never was.

I believe the lack of Fijian medical professionals  is another major contributing element to the swelling infection rates and sub-sequent fatalities.

And no,  the rumored “google doc- tors” in hospitals are of no  assistance as well. I believe this pandemic has broadly exposed to the world the veracity of our health fraternity in worst forms imaginable.

We are now on the verge of an imminent collapse.

Yes, Dr Fong, sach humesha kadhwa hota hai (Truth  is always bitter). NISHANT SINGH Lautoka


Business of politics 

THE recent claims by the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General that Mahendra Chaudhry was asked to resign as Finance Minister in 2008, raises a salient question: why make  this revelation at this juncture?

Back then, I believe Mr  Chaudhry’s conscious volition was the Prime Minister’s narrative.

While the veracity of this  recent backflip can be de- bated until the cows come  home, is the new claim a result of election fears given  that Mr Chaudhry qualifi es, so far, to contest the  next elections?

Politics has never been a clean business. BIMAL PRASAD Newtown Rd, Wailoaloa, Nadi


Being a leader  

ONE of the pre-requisites of someone holding or  wanting to hold any public  office is humbleness and composure and to expect comments and criticisms from all angles which they should take it on their chin.

They should then with a  cool head respond appropriately rather than reacting.

In addition, office holders should restrict them- selves to the mandate of  the office they hold.

Whilst we have raging COVID-19 in the country and people dying, why are we spending resources to talk about who delivered the letter to whom and why  or who should stick to Tik- Tok.

Being leaders, please  deal with important national issues and refrain  from petty issues. AJAI KUMAR Nadi


Budget timeframe 

THE timeframe for the 2021-22 budget is one year with a provision of a review after six months.

However, the wide ranging assistance offered to almost  all sections of the community from waiving various  charges and fees to payment of interest on business loans is for a period of two years.

Is this not strange that while the budget estimates are for one year but all the assistance offered is for two years? Has the Government  already won the next election?  BHARAT MORRIS Rifle Range, Vatuwaqa, Suva


Online classes 

IN regards to a letter post- ed on 22/21 (online classes).

As mentioned in the letter that there should be on- line classes for primary and  secondary students, can we keep in mind that not all  families can afford a smart- phone and let’s say for Year  1 students will they even be able to understand what’s happening in their “online classes”, however, I don’t think they would take it  seriously so we should be focused on Years 12 and 13, be- cause the other levels may  be promoted automatically to the next level. RIYA PRAKASH Solovi, Nadi


Vaccination and beer 

I WISH to convey my earnest gratitude to South  Seas Club of Lautoka for devotedly accommodating the  mobile COVID vaccination campaign.

Just wondering, in addition to receiving the jab,  what are the odds of this  popular and scenic watering hole sponsoring a free  mug of local chilled draught  beer (per person post vaccination) as an enticement to  boost this exhausting exercise and increase vaccination stats?

If this proposition materialises (highly unlikely),  I believe more than 90 per cent of Lautokans will be immunised in a blink of an eye! NISHANT SINGH Lautoka

Bad look 

HEALTH Ministry PS Dr Fong tells us “as an independent civil  servant” that the situation high- lighted in the viral video was  actually quite normal in emergencies (FT 23/7).

Wonder if  independent outside observers  see it that way?

Even if it’s nor- mal, as Dr Fong contends, it is  still a bad look for Fiji. RAJEND NAIDU Sydney, Australia


Jab choice  

NEELESH Gounder, in his opinion page on the “no jab, no job”  policy on Friday (FT 23/7) states “it is coercive and biased – why  should children in poor house- holds be deprived if parents  choose not to take the vaccination?”

I think the question,  rather, should be “Why do the parents deprive their children by choosing not to be vaccinated”. VIJAY P. MADHAVAN Borron Rd., Suva


New Bills  

COULD we wait for the present COVID-19 situation to clear  then introduce Bills that cause stress and anxiety to the people of Fiji. SUKHA SINGH Labasa


Virus protection 

IT is determined that those  that are double jabbed, if infected, although protected, can  still transmit the virus, therefore those that chose to vaccinate  have done so to protect them- selves, their families and their  friends and, by extension, those that chose not to … uummm. NIGEL FIU Owls Perch, Lautoka


New outbreak 

SO the NSW lockdown to sup- press new outbreak surges of the COVID-19 delta variant is not working. So what does that state?

Vaccination is the only solution to eliminate COVID-19. Jan Nissar, are you vaccinated?

You might need three jabs! WISE MUAVONO Balawa, Lautoka


Tokyo Olympics 

IF majority of athletes are  tested positive during the running of the Games, then I believe  the Tokyo Olympics might have  to be called off.

That would really be disastrous. Who will cop the blame? SURESH CHAND Nadi


Own ventilator 

WHY hasn’t anyone said, “Go buy your own ventilator” yet? KIRAN KHATRI Samabula, Suva



Social media has spread a lot of conspiracy theories and misinformation about the COVID-19  vaccines.

That has had deadly consequences because many people use these false statements as evidence to consolidate their pre-existing political  ideologies.

Sadly, educated people are the most gullible.

Makes me wonder if this is the era of lack of social understanding! WISE MUAVONO Balawa, Lautoka


Fiji Rugby 7s 

YES, Gareth Baber, there should be no room for complacency when the Fiji men’s rugby 7s team enters the field in the opening match against Japan at the Tokyo Olympic Games next Monday.

The national team had always attracted big fan support in tournaments around the world but this time around, it will be empty stadiums.

The real distraction for the Olympics is the rise in COVID-19 cases at the Olympic Village in Tokyo Bay.

Our President, Jioji Konrote, has challenged and encouraged Team Fiji athletes and officials to do well at the games.

As the defending Olympic champions, it will be no easy ride for our  men’s 7s gladiators and I hope Baber has covered all areas for a successful outing.

Past winning coach, Peni Rayani (Ben Ryan), put in a lot of sacrifices with his method of coaching, especially taking them to the Sigatoka Sand Dunes as well as changing the players’ diet.

Already, I am missing my favourite because of discipline issues but like me, I know he will be backing our national team all the way.

What bothers me most is the over publicity given to some of the star players and I do hope they perform consistently to defend the title.

This time around, the All Blacks, Great Britain, South Africa and Australia will be very strong contenders.

Good luck to Gareth Baber and his team alongside our giant killers Fijiana women’s team who seem to be our only medal hopes.

Thank you, MAI TV, for securing the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 coverage rights despite the difficult economic times to be aired free for the  people of Fiji. Go, Fiji, go. RAYMOND SINGH Golf Links, Lautoka


Top-class medical treatment

I WAS recently hospitalised  (July 22, 2021) because of an asthmatic bronchial flare-up I’d seen  two doctors for and been battling for 11 days.

Of course, I had been COVID-19 PCR swab tested a few days earlier at the Suva Civic Centre and  await my results still. But lungs pay no heed to this.

I write of my experience at CWMH emergency department in a carpark UNICEF Triage Hospital tent because it was truly lifesaving.

Not being able to breathe is not new to me – I’ve known that before – but getting this level of professionalism in a pandemic is incredible, Fiji.

This top-class professionalism includes dignity, kindness and care, compassion and tenderness from everyone of that ED  staff, our wonderful frontliners. #Heroes; #Legends each one of our medical team, Fiji. You are top class!

After ringing 165 for help, my husband drove us to the FEMAT Triage tents at Vodafone in Vatuwaqa where he was quickly directed to the CWMH emergency department.

Here, I was triaged straight- away from the car, because of terrible shortness of breath and even struggled to walk – asthma/  COVID-19? I was taken to a solitary bed in a UNICEF tent where  a bright yellow mattress became my good mate for the next 7-8 hours.

They intentionally separated me from other known COVID- positives in another tent near- by, though we did share a scary, smelling valelili portaloo, or two.

So there we are, the human overflow of sick patients in Suva, all having a party in the ED carpark and it was a super, well-organised dance indeed.

Within minutes, I had a Dr Ar- mind(?), a thorough, young in- tern doctor who explained what  he was doing as he took bloods and installed the necessary IV  Top-class medical treatment  canister for a familiar drip to ad- minister lifesaving steroids and  pain relief within minutes.

Next, this young intern hooked me up to the IV saline, which is where the vital medical drugs are administered into too, hitting the veins fast for relief.

To this, Dr Maciu, the presiding doctor yesterday, administered IV steroids, some antibiotics for my lungs and morphine for the intense, constant tightening chest pain.

Glorious morphine! Heavenly relief fi nally from the burning concrete elephant’s foot seemingly stooping solidly on my chest and rib cage.

Kuvui can’t fi x this alone, not now, this low, down within the chest congestion that is as heavy as a sledgehammer inside. This was done with respect, care and concern and, most of all, efficient, world-class professional integrity.

I write this back at home to- day, so grateful for the kindness and dignity of their professionalism. This is their vocation to us.

So, to all of the team at CWM Emergency Department in Suva, I honour your sacrifice in this mass of overwhelming human need in Delta COVID-19,  Suva.

Thank you for your service to Fiji and especially to me and to all the others I observed in your generous care.

As a 59-year-old woman, when I was in a write-off state, you saved me  kindly and professionally. You make me again proud to call my- self Fijian, as I am, and for Fiji to be my home right now too. Now I’ve got a Fiji hospital number too! Alongside citizen- ship and voter registration.

And a place to call home in Nabua, Suva. So folks, please go to the CWMH ED in Suva pronto when you can’t breathe. I’m alive to tell you, it’s safe.

I’ve never received better, or kinder, or more professional treatment than I did in this carpark tent yesterday at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital Emergency Department in Suva.

In this ‘safe as houses’ UNICEF tent, the welcome, gentle,  tropical breeze on my exhaust- ed, clammy, sweaty body was di- vine.  Trust our doctors and in- terns and nurses everybody.

I had no choice yesterday. Nor was I afraid to go here. I could not breathe and I was desperate (with a panicked husband and a mind on his school.)

These ‘medical angels’ are our boot soldiers, our lifesavers on  the ground in the thick of COVID-19 saturation, yet with com- passion and expertise to save my  life and your life too.

And anyone of your vuvale.

Please, let them and trust them. I do with my life, Fiji. JEAN HELAN HATCH Sawau St, Nabua, Suva

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