Thursday 3rd December, 2020
Bula Vinaka, Namaste, Assalamo-alaikum and Noa’ia e mau’ri. A November to remember. The months of October and November were somber reminders to us all about the impact of Cancers. Yes we are navigating through the COVID crisis but other diseases do not take a back seat just because there is a new villain in town. In fact, our vulnerable populations who have NCDs and who have cancers become even more vulnerable to this new villain. It is reminiscent of your Western classic whereby the cowboy is reeling and staggering from being shot and then the villainous cavalry arrives and it’s a free for all gun-fest where the cowboy literally stands no chance being blown to smithereens. October was a timely reminder that breast cancer is the number one oncological killer for women in Fiji and that our efforts have not reeled back the mortality rates. Similarly, November was a wakeup call for men in Fiji to “Man up and get tested” as unchecked prostate cancer also kills and does so with a vengeance in the advanced stages of disease. I would like to offer my utmost gratitude to you all who raised awareness about these two killer diseases. A special shout-out to the General Surgical teams in the Cent East, West and North for the countless public talks on awareness regarding breast cancer and to Dr. Rajeev Patel and team Urology for doing an amazing job in November to raise awareness regarding prostate cancer. We commend your efforts and encourage you to keep being public health champions whilst being competent clinicians.
Despite our best efforts, we still have not received enough articles regarding COVID-19 to justify a writers’ retreat in December, 2020. On behalf of our FMJ editor, Dr. Brian Guevara, I once again encourage you all to send in your draft articles. During the Suva, West and North mini-conferences, we had excellent testimonials from various medical officers regarding their experience with COVID-19. I would encourage all those speakers to articulate in a paper what you presented and forward your draft to Dr. Brian so that we hit the critical mass required for publication of our COVID edition FMJ. We will now aim for a writers’ retreat regarding the above in early 2021 on the premise that we get at least 8-10 articles. We can certainly do this!!!
We are now in December. The mood is one of partying and de-stressing. We cannot wait for 2020 to be over and we hope and pray that 2021 will bring some much needed respite. Whilst we wind down and make merry, let us all do so responsibly. Let us continue to be good role models and not end up in any way comprising our own individual integrity nor that of the noble profession we represent. Please do not drink and drive. Please do not speed on the roads. Be a courteous driver and always practice defensive driving. Also, let us embrace our less fortunate brothers and sisters and do whatever we can to make their Christmas joyful. It is a time for sharing and sometimes small gestures of goodwill can go a long way in helping someone who is in dire straits get a boost in their morale and turn the corner from despair to glory. I wish you and your beautiful families a merry Christmas and a prosperous 2021!!!
Vinaka vakalevu, Khuda Hafiz, Daniyabaad and Fa’eksia
Dr Basharat Munshi
Fiji Medical Association