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EDITORIAL: Let’s Beef Up Security For Public Servants In Rural Areas

EDITORIAL: Let’s Beef Up Security For Public Servants In Rural Areas
Editorial
July 17
11:37 2018

The alleged attack on the Nasau Health Centre in Ra by two men alleged to be intoxicated should be condemned in the strongest possible terms.

As Police investigate to bring to justice those allegedly involved, this alleged incident highlights the dangers faced by public servants who serve in remote rural ar­eas.

A doctor and a nurse who were based at the health cen­tre abandoned the centre last week and fled in fear of their lives.

Two men armed with kitchen knives allegedly threat­ened Dr Ashneel Asish Chand at his quarters about 9pm last Friday. It was also alleged he was as­saulted and they de­manded methylated spirit. They then alleg­edly marched him to the health centre and obtained the methyl­ated spirit.

The medics are recov­ering from this trau­matic experience and no doubt it will take time to get over the in­cident.

They didn’t deserve this shocking alleged attack. They had left the comforts of their normal place of resi­dence and relocated to this remote rural health centre to serve the people there. Their quarters are near the health centre.

As a result of that al­leged attack, the centre is closed. More than 2000 people depend on the centre when they get sick or injured. Now they have to pay $120 to travel to the nearest health centre.

The incident calls for urgent intervention by commu­nity leaders and villager elders.

They must immediately call meetings to discuss this serious issue. The people must be told that the alleged attack was unacceptable and criminal.

They must also be told that the alleged crime must not happen again because they are the ones who suffer as a consequence.

Safety and security of public servants, whether they are doctors, nurses or teachers should be a top prior­ity. They should be protected just like their colleagues who work in urban centres, in hospitals for example, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The security is only available during the day, not at night.

These community or village meetings should be ex­tended to include, provincial administrators, Police, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services plus other rele­vant stakeholders. They all should be engaged in urgent dialogue to work out a solution – how to keep our public servants safe.

If it means providing security guards for 24 hours and seven days a week to protect the premises and medics, so be it.

Those allegedly responsible must be brought to justice and if convicted must be given appropriate punishment to serve as a deterrent to would-be offenders.

The lack of security at night is a serious situation and must be looked at urgently if we want our medics and other civil servants to serve us well.

NEMANI DELAIBATIKI

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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