Bula Vinaka, Namaste, Assalamo-alaikum and Noa’ia e mau’ri. It is with a heavy hearts that we acknowledge the recent passing away of Dr Rajendra Kumar Bali. He was an outstanding General Practitioner who served his community with passion and commitment. He was also a founding member as well as a life member of the Fiji College of General Practitioners and he was active in attending not only FCGP conferences but FMA organized conferences as well. His funeral was held on Sunday in Ba and we would like to take this opportunity to pass our condolences to Dr. Bharat Bali and the family. A testimony to a great man is greatness of his progeny and Dr. Bharat Bali is certainly a living example of this.
I would like to thank everyone for their steadfastness, sacrifice and solidarity in our battle against COVID-19. The tireless efforts of MOHMS led by the steely determination of the Honorable Minister for Health are showing tremendous results. The consultative approach, swift implementation of scalable control measures and the unwavering hard work of all health personnel has seen our total case numbers remain at 18. What is even more encouraging is that 12 cases have recovered leaving only 6 active cases. When we compare ourselves to the scenario that is unfolding across USA, Europe and Asia, we seem to be faring better and our implementation measures have been more successful. We are certainly winning some key battles however the war is far from over. For the morale of the battlers concerned, it is important to celebrate the battles we win, as it fuels our enthusiasm to continue battling.
It is also important however, that we always take a step back and look at the bigger picture before embarking on celebratory activities that might come back to haunt us. This was seen in the bad judgment of some Lautoka Hospital staff who perhaps in a moment of elation and joy ditched the social distancing measures that we have been vehemently preaching about to the public. I acknowledge the fact that this group did not include Doctors per se but there were certainly other hospital staff present. I also acknowledge the fact that the intention of this group was to show support and solidarity towards case number 1 who had been the subject of much vilification from the public at large. The intention was good but the execution of the intent was wrong. Sadly, this event was captured on video and posted on social media and there was an outcry from certain members of the public. The public sentiment is understandable as the medical personnel in general are supposed to champion and advocate for social distancing measures and that was the reason for the outcry. Some over-zealous individuals even took it a step further and created a spoof of the health promotion video done by Lautoka Hospital staff emphasizing COVID-19 preventative measures. This is currently being addressed by FMA in the form of formal complaints to the Online Safety Commission and the Police. We are truly sympathetic towards Dr. Harshika, Dr. Yogeshni and Dr. Bharat whose video messages were tainted by the spoof video. It emphasizes the point that some people will go to great lengths for entertainment at the expense of other peoples’ goodwill. I urge that the Doctors concerned not be too disheartened by this and take solace in the fickle nature of social media. If we react, then we add fuel to a fire that should die a natural death very quickly. Also, be reassured that steps are being taken to try and get the perpetrators concerned to be taken to task.
I urge you all brothers and sisters to remain steadfast and keep fighting the good fight in these trying times. It is important that we look after each other and that if we feel that we are being overwhelmed to speak up and ask for help. Know that FMA is here for you in whatever capacity you need us.
Vinaka vakalevu, Khuda Hafiz, Daniyabaad and Fa’eksia
Dr Basharat Munshi
Fiji Medical Association