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Medical Staff Harassed in Rural, Maritime Areas: Minister of Health

“We know it is not the whole community. It is that individual that has done it, but it needs the community to be able to protect our staff,” Minister Waqainabete said.
21 Feb 2022 14:56
Medical Staff Harassed in Rural, Maritime Areas: Minister of Health
Women of Vabea Village with the Minister for Health and Medical Services Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete during his tour in Kadavu last week. Photo: Fonua Talei

Harassment of health staff mainly doctors and nurses is a common occurrence in the rural and maritime areas.

Minister for Health and Medical Services Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete shared similar sentiments while on tour with a delegation of medical staff in Kadavu.

He said the ministry received one or two serious assault cases per year apart from the frequent assault cases arising out of misunderstanding and miscommunication between villagers and health staff.

Considering this, Dr Waqainabete said the safety and welfare of their staff was paramount. The ministry immediately steps in to take action.

“What we have done is as soon as a staff is hassled to an extent that it is of a criminal nature, whether it’s an attempted sexual assault or them coming over and peeping into the house and we know that they are unsafe, we pull them out of the nursing stations straight away,” Dr Waqainabete said.

“We take them out of there because we believe that by leaving them out there, they will not be able to function well because their mind is not in the right place. Where they need to be is either with family or friends.”
The ministry also holds talks with the communities to ensure they know their responsibility of collectively looking after health staff and with Police to explore the possibility of having officers based near the medical facilities.

“We know it is not the whole community. It is that individual that has done it, but it needs the community to be able to protect our staff,” he said.

“We have had cases where people who are drunk try to get into the station to get the alcohol that we have and threatening our staff, those who have been forcing themselves into the nursing station where the nurse is a lady and particular cases where the nurse has been resting in their own private homes and people have been peering in through the windows, etcetera.

“These are the particular concerns that we have and the nurses once their privacy is broken, they feel unsafe.

“The overall picture is about taking away sexual assault, gender based violence and attacks on women because it’s not only about the health staff it’s about the overall community at large.”

 Kavala Health Centre Doctor Elizabeth Lal, Health Inspector Josaia Tubuna, team leader public health nurse Ro Iva Naivalurua and Acting SDMO Dr Eileen Puamau in Nakoronawa Village. Photo: Fonua Talei

Kavala Health Centre Doctor Elizabeth Lal, Health Inspector Josaia Tubuna, team leader public health nurse Ro Iva Naivalurua and Acting SDMO Dr Eileen Puamau in Nakoronawa Village. Photo: Fonua Talei

 

Feedback: fonua.talei@fijisun.com.fj

 



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