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Vanuatu: Govt rebutted overseas media reports that Vanuatu has reported four suspected cases of the swine influenza

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  • Vanuatu: Govt rebutted overseas media reports that Vanuatu has reported four suspected cases of the swine influenza

    Govt condemns overseas swine flu hoax

    Sat, 02 May, 2009 13:25 Author: Florence Kuali-Iautu



    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) office in Vanuatu have strongly rebutted overseas media reports that Vanuatu has reported four suspected cases of the swine influenza.
    Australia’s Nine News TV network and Fiji Times Online claimed on April 30 that Vanuatu has reported four suspected cases of the swine flu—reports that have shocked concerned authorities because no cases have been reported as yet.
    Government officials raised grave concerns over the false alarms which they believed were being perpetrated with bad intentions to jeopardize the local tourism industry.
    Director of Public Health Len Tarivonda said: “This is misinformation which the MOH and WHO totally condemn and label as fabrication.
    “Vanuatu is free from swine flu and we will do our utmost to keep it that way.”
    A press conference was jointly organised by the health ministry and WHO yesterday to inform the public about the current swine flu situation and the measures the government and its partners are taking to counteract the threat it may pose to ni-Vanuatu.
    WHO Country Liaison Officer in the country Dr Bernard Fabre-Teste said it is important to assure the public that the alert that has reached the second last phase (Phase 5), according to WHO refers to the geographical location and not the seriousness of the disease.
    “It is important to emphasise the level of epidemic given by WHO that we have raised now to level 5 which have brought some fear to the general public – in fact this is the general geographical distribution and no sense of severity of the disease,” he said.
    He said today countries in the world today with the support of partners including WHO, Unicef and AusAID here in the Pacific are well prepared for this pandemic than before from the lesson learnt from the SARS flu.
    “We will now reactivate all task forces in place to prepare us in the coming months,” he said.
    Dr Willie Tokon Superintendent of the Vila Central Hospital (VCH) also assured the public that VCH has a system in place which is the ‘Injection control’ committee with some procedures and protocols to follow during such time.
    “We just have to reactivate the committee to revise policies and protocols. It is important for people to apply simple health practices under such situations.
    “Since the disease is still new, there is still no effective vaccine for use and but there are others we can use.
    “It is important for everyone to live healthy to control and avoid the flu and it is best to come early if suspected to have the flu,” he said.
    Mr Tarivonda reminded everyone that only information originating from his office or the health ministry and cleared by the relevant authorities should be treated as genuine.
    A simple health form will soon be placed with the immigration and customs documents at the international airport for all arriving passengers to fill out in order to assist health authorities monitor the disease in the country.
    “We should all be concern but to remain calm and keep ourselves healthy because we still do not know exactly the character of the disease and learn to keep ourselves healthy,” he said.
    They have has already established a multi-sectoral task force to plan and coordinate the country’s preparedness and response, which would be activated as soon as possible.
    In the meantime both are closely monitoring the swine flu situation and will provide regular updates to the public and the media as and when necessary.


    http://www.dailypost.vu/index.php?news=4480&print
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