Pandemic taught many lessons: Dr Fong

May 23, 2022 4:12 pm

A lot of hard work had gone on behind the scenes to get Fiji to where it is today in terms of limiting the severe impacts of the COVID-19 virus among Fijians.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says working during the height of COVID was hard, adding many of them struggled.

However, he adds it was also a learning curve, not just for the health professionals and stakeholders but all Fijians alike.

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Dr Fong highlighted that a huge challenge for them was knowing when to initiate the right level of response to an unprecedented problem.

“Like if we respond to a high level too fast by the time you come to the worst level everybody will be too tired to deal with it. So we had to be measured, we had to be proportionate so that we try to escalate in a proportionate manner according to the level of threat.”

Dr Fong says another lesson they learnt was that in order for them to move up in a proportionate manner, they had to stabilize supply chains.

He says this led to creating storehouse facilities around the country so they could move equipment, personal protective equipment, and oxygen quickly.

Communication was also key and this is something the Health Ministry has maintained even today.

“As we speak I have senior managers meeting two times a week with a specific agenda and a specific plan on issues of concern and we are going to keep that going.”

Doctor Fong says all this knowledge is now being pulled together into standard operating procedures and protocols for health professionals and private partners to work with.