17 Apr 2007

Fiji doctor says villagers too slow to seek medical care

1:42 pm on 17 April 2007

A doctor in Fiji's northern division says villagers are waiting too long to come forward to treat suspected typhoid cases.

One person is dead and already 64 cases of typhoid, 34 cases of dengue fever and 23 cases of leptospirosis have been reported in the Northern Division.

The sub-divisional medical officer and doctor at Savusavu hospital, Mohammed Ishaque, says some stayed sick in their villages for three weeks before going to health centres to be checked out.

He says roads washed away by recent flooding made it too expensive for some who would have had to travel to medical centres by boat.

But Doctor Ishaque says those living in the rural areas need to change their attitude towards health.

"They don't give priority to health. In fact they give priority to religious functions than the health itself. I heard that some of them they travel to the other side of the island while they were still sick for the church services instead of coming to the health centre. and when there was a death all of them they rush to the health centre."

Doctor Ishaque says all large gatherings have been banned to prevent the spread of disease.