25 May 2020

Fiji public ordered to clean up as govt tackles multiple diseases

8:27 am on 25 May 2020

Fiji's government says while the majority of the public is adhering to its government's campaign against leptospirosis, typhoid, dengue and diarrhoea, more work needs to be done.

Health Minister, Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete

Health Minister, Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete Photo: Fiji Govt

This week, the Health Ministry directed residents at a Nadi village to clean up their environment after six cases of leptospirosis, dengue and typhoid were found in the area.

Minister Ifereimi Waqainabete said a nation-wide clean-up was underway to address the threat of 'LTDD'.

"They (residents) are free to actually put their whiteware out and their rubbish out so I've been glad to see that there's a lot of work happening right throughout the last month."

Mr Waqainabete said so far this year, seven people had died from leptospirosis while 10 people died last year.

He said a committee had been set up to monitor the situation at the Nadi village.

The Health Ministry said leptospirosis was a bacterial disease spread through the urine of infected animals.

The minister said humans could also get leptospirosis when they didn't cover and protect cuts or wounds.

He said between January and April this year, Fiji had recorded 791 cases of dengue fever and most of them were centred in the northern and central parts of the country.

Mr Waqainabete said LTDD were climate-sensitive diseases with a spike in cases during wet weather and following Cyclone Harold last month.

He said this was evident in Kadavu, Lau, some coastal communities in the western division, as well as in the north and central parts of the country.

He said the spike in LTDD diseases came at a "tricky time" with the Covid-19 pandemic still around.

"Covid-19, the recent Cyclone Harold, flooding and LTDD cases are all testing Fijian resilience."

Soldiers help clean up in the capital Suva.

Soldiers help clean up in the capital Suva. Photo: Supplied/Fiji govt

Clean-up campaign kicks in

Meanwhile, Nagado Village headman Alekisa Ranadali said following the ministry's directive, their clean-up started last week and would run for 14 days.

"We have been stressing to the villagers on the importance of making sure their compounds and surrounding are cleaned. The fight to combat this is totally in our hands," Mr Ranadali told FBC News.

The Health Ministry said a committee had been set up to ensure the villagers in Nadi adhered to the directive.

Soldiers were also assisting in the clean-up across the country, the ministry said.