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Archived News: April 2011

From Radio Fiji (20 April 2011)

40 bio-fuel mills to be built

Ministry of Agriculture Permanent Secretary Colonel Mason Smith told FBC News – these mills will be similar to the one on Koro Island, in the Lomaiviti.

Col Smith says they are planning to install a plant in Rotuma and one in Cicia Island – in the Lau Group - sometimes soon.

 The mill produces bio-diesel from coconut oil and diesel - for local consumption.

He says the installation of these mills should be a boost to copra farmers to produce the best copra.

The price of copra has increased from $600 a tonne to $1,300 a tonne.

Report byApisalome Coka

From Sanimeli Maraf in Rotuma (22 March, posted 13 April)

After the tsunami warning most people went and spent a few days in their little houses in the bush. It seems good living there as it's a change from the village. As for us, we went up to the hall in Noa'tau with about seven other families only for the night. After watching on TV what had happened in Japan we realize how lucky we are here in Rotuma Island.

The Westerland arrives tomorrow bringing Timoce Natuva, minister for works to inspect the place where the biofuel facility is going to be built at Ahau. Other ministers will be coming and will be returning on the same ship, so we lost our booking for a room here on this side.

At this moment in Rotuma we cannot cash a private cheque at the post office. Government cheques (old age, welfare, etc.) can be cashed, but the post office takes 5% for their trouble. But no private cheques unless you fill in a form for the Colonial Bank's appraisal, so we are stuck at the moment.

The Tuvalu boat Manu Fulau made its first trip to Rotuma at the end of March bringing people from Suva. From what I gather, it's a lovely boat, with good service, good food, very clean, plus cold water from the tap, but they serve mostly rice. It also took a shipment of foodstuff to Tuvalu. Some officials will come from Tuvalu to the Rotuma Day celebration in May.

From Fiji Times Online (11 April 2011)

One boat per month for Rotuma

by Samantha Rina

ROTUMA will continue to receive one boat trip per month under Government's franchise scheme.

Commander John Fox of the navy said there were no plans to increase the number of trips to the island under the franchise scheme.

This despite concerns about the lack of trips made to Rotuma by those living on the island and their relatives in Fiji.

"We don't want to go beyond one trip per month because we don't want to make it a handout for private-owned shipping companies.

"Additional trips can be made depending on private shipping operators who have the option of making more trips to the island if they choose," he said.

Bligh Water Shipping is expected to make a trip to Rotuma today.

From Radio Fiji (10 April 2011)

Strengthen Rotuma quarantine laws, says doctor

There is a need to step up quarantine regulations in Rotuma – following the commencement of the trade with Tuvalu this year.

The call comes following the death of a 30 year-old man in Rotuma – suspected of contracting the influenza H1N1.

Deputy Secretary for Public Health Dr Josefa Koroivueta says quarantine is important in every country as it deals with human and animal health.

“It’s a measure placed for decades – for every port of entry whether by air or by sea – to protect a country from the importation of diseases of public health importance. So – it can vary from wild diseases to mosquito-borne diseases.”

Rotuma was declared a port of entry last year.

Report by: Elenoa Osborne

From Radio Fiji (9 April 2011)

Ministry explains suspected H1N1 death

The Health Ministry says the best prevention against the H1N1 influenza is to seek medical intervention as early as possible.

Deputy Secretary for Health Dr Josefa Koroivueta says the death of the man in Rotuma – suspected of contracting the H1N1 virus - could have been avoided if he had sought medical attention earlier.

Dr Koroivueta says the man was sick for three weeks at his home before he went for medical treatment.

"The patient was unconscious and it was quite difficult to get a sample for testing – so we believe that the chances of recovering virus from him was too far gone because he was sick for awhile. It would have been more successful if we had made isolation earlier on – within the first few days of illness."

Dr Koroivueta confirms there are currently no serious cases of influenza in Rotuma.

Report by: Elenoa Osborne

From FijiVillage (8 April 2011)

H1N1 no different from other types of influenza

People do not need to worry about H1N1 as it is no different from other types of influenza.

That is the clarification from the World Health Organization and the Health Ministry after concerns were raised on recent reports on H1N1 cases in Rotuma.

At a press conference this afternoon, WHO Communicable Disease Surveillance and Response team leader Dr Jacob Kool said that the symptoms of influenza H1N1 are very similar to the symptoms of contracting regular seasonal flu which are fever accompanied by cough, sore throat, body aches, headaches, fatigue and in some cases vomiting and diarrhoea.

Deputy Secretary for Health Dr Josefa Koroivueta said the island of Rotuma experienced an outbreak of influenza in March with 186 persons with influenza illness reported.

He said six samples were taken and all were confirmed as H1N1 influenza.

However, Dr Koroivueta clarified that the 30-year-old man with influenza like illness from Rotuma who died on April 1st is being considered as a 'suspected case' of H1N1 or other influenza as there were no samples available for laboratory testing.

He added the ministry is ensuring prevention through border control which is an international mandatory requirement and is also keeping surveillance in other centers.

He stressed people need to practice precautionary measures by washing hands frequently with soap and water, avoid touching your face, avoid contact with sick people and cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing.

Story by: Sofaia Koroitanoa

From Fiji Times Online (8 April 2011)

WHO warns of deadly second wave

by Samantha Rina

THE H1N1 endemic has claimed its first victim in Fiji ù almost two years after the deadly disease first hit Fiji.

And the World Health Organisation has warned people to take precautions against a possible second wave based on current regional trends.

The deceased, a 30-year-old man, was one of six people in Rotuma diagnosed with H1N1 after an outbreak on the island in January.

The matter was highlighted by WHO communicable diseases expert Dr Jacob Kool at a health symposium in Suva yesterday. Health permanent secretary Dr Sala Saketa raised questions on the circircumstances surrounding the death and whether the victim was treated with the recommended drug, Tamiflu.

Public Health deputy secretary, Dr Jo Koroivueta said the release of Tamiflu to patients took time and that the patient could not be evacuated until two weeks after the onset of the illness.

Dr Koroivueta said Rotuma was included in last year's H1N1 vaccination campaign which only covered health workers and selected groups of people deemed most vulnerable to the illness.

"Rotuma just opened an international port to Tuvalu and once you open an international port, you open up to illnesses," he said.

Dr Koroivueta said there was a possibility of the outbreak being linked to the new port and emphasised the need to improve quarantine measures on Rotuma. Medics recorded 186 cases on Rotuma from March 4 to March 10 with a high prevalence in 11 to 12-year-olds.

In the course of the outbreak, more than 50 school students were rushed to the hospital after complaining of being weak and dizzy.

From Radio Fiji (7 April 2011)

New bio-fuel factories for Fiji

Two new bio-fuel factories will be opened next month to add to the one in Nacamaki, Koro which was opened last year.

Department of Rural Electrification chief engineer Vilimone Vosarogo says the two new factories will be located in Rotuma and Cicia in Lau.

Vosarogo says these factories will increase production of bio-fuel for vehicles in the islands and plans are underway to build another factory either in Kadavu, Gau or Bua before the end of the year.

He says all factories for Fiji should be completed before 2014.

Report by: Masimeke Latianara

From Radio Fiji (7 April 2011)

H1N1 relapse, one confirmed dead

Thursday, April 07, 2011

World Health Organisation communicable disease expert, Dr Jacob Kool, has confirmed that one person has died from H1N1 in Rotuma.

Dr Kool says the patient was not able to take the recommended drug, Tamiflu, in time and the patient could not be evacuated until two weeks after the onset of the illness.

The patient was a 30-year-old man with no history of risks such as diabetes, heart disease or obesity.

He has warned health workers that a second wave of the H1N1 Epidemic was likely to occur within the next three months based on current regional trends.

He said 186 influenza cases were recorded in Rotuma from March 4 to 10.

Of these cases, six were confirmed to be the H1N1 virus with a high prevalence in 11 to 12 year olds.

Report by: Maca Lutunauga