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October 2020



Dear Members

Bula Vinaka, Namaste, Assalamo-alaikum and Noa’ia e mau’ri.

We blinked and it is October 2020. A lot of water, mostly fresh and sometimes muddy, has passed below the Rewa Bridge since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. As the cool kids would say, “big ups” to Fiji for the way we have collectively reacted to this pandemic. From the highest echelons of Government to the grassroots that hold this country dear, everyone heeded the warnings and took this pandemic seriously. I am proud to live in a society that views health as a basic human right and when it comes to competing agendas, we put good health above every other priority. There is a lot of wisdom in this line of thinking. This does and has caused short to medium term financial strife for everyone, however, we would rather build our house on a solid, healthy foundation which would then enable us to flourish in abundance in time to come as opposed to the short-sighted goal of never-ending profiteering which would invariably lead to an implosion. We do not have to look far to see real time examples of this happening around the world. Countries that prioritize profiteering for large corporations over response to the pandemic are toppling like dominos. The so called “most powerful people in the world” have contracted this deadly disease despite seemingly impenetrable defenses; yet, our average Jo in Fiji, with no defenses except common sense hand and respiratory hygiene measures and social distancing discipline is able to walk along the beach with the feeling of sand between his toes, sun on his back and a smile on his face with that infectious “Bula” greeting as he walks past without fear of contracting this virus. In essence, billions of people around the world would give up their trillions to be in the position we are in. Let us continue to be sensible health advocates and not drop our guard in this war which has no clear end in sight.

In addition to being health advocates, we must strive to be a society that is humane, tolerant and respectful to one another. It was sad to see one of our Doctors get assaulted in a cowardly attack. This is an incident which we want to prevent from ever happening again. First and foremost, a strong message was sent to the public in general that this type of behavior will not be tolerated. Our law enforcement agency also reinforced this message by charging the perpetrator so a very clear message has been sent to the public that violence against Doctors will not be tolerated. Using basic public health preventative strategies, we must look into the risk factors that lead to this event and institute interventions that will prevent this scenario repeating. Is the ratio of doctors to the population they serve adequate? Do we have effective triage? Are the communication mechanisms between patients and their families regarding expected wait times working? Has our efficiency as Doctors been optimized? No system is perfect. It is the acknowledgement of this fact and the willingness to be introspective and improve from within that will bring the greatest change.

Our North Mini-Conference is on the horizon and will be held at the Galaxy Hotel in Labasa on the 24th of October, 2020. The hard-working northern executives led by Dr. Maurice and Dr. Vili Nasila have come up with an excellent program with renowned speakers keeping with the broad themes of our previous two mini-conferences. Due to COVID restrictions, spaces are limited so I am urging all our members in the northern division to take advantage of this opportunity to get some valuable CME points and also use this as a mass therapy session by socializing with your colleagues. Our secretariat will send continual updates on the number of spaces left for registration and this number is in the low twenties so do prioritize booking your spot to avoid disappointment.

Fiji Medical Journal is also looking for journal articles for our special COVID-19 edition which we plan to publish in December, 2020. I urge you all to please send in articles regarding your experience with COVID-19. There are various formats you can utilize such as a case report, case series, mortality report, analyses of preventative strategies etc. that we would be willing to accept. This will also be a chance for you to become a published author and, if you are one already, to add to your repertoire. Our success with COVID-19 needs to be captured and articulated in an acceptable scientific format so that the world can take some lessons. For those that do send in articles, we are planning to have a writer’s retreat in early December to iron out these articles into a publishable format. We look forward to receiving articles from you all.

Vinaka vakalevu, Khuda Hafiz, Daniyabaad and Fa’eksia

Dr Basharat Munshi


Fiji Medical Association