BY JOHN CHRISMA
AMIDST growing panic and fear of coronavirus reaching our shores, an elderly Pastor in Central Guadalcanal says the responsible health authority should host coronavirus Awareness and Prevention Campaign to help inform and calm concerns of the rural communities across the Solomon Islands.
Pastor George Gue raised his concern following a previous church meeting held at the Kolina Community in the Central Guadalcanal.
He said to host health awareness talks at the remote rural communities in the country based on the vital information, basic facts and answer questions on how to be prepared to deal with the impact of an outbreak of Coronavirus / Covid-19 before it’s too late to address the situation on the ground.
“We know that access to reliable information remains an obstacle for remote villages. In the case of a public health crisis, this absence of information can be a matter of life and death.
“That is why our responsible health authority must put together a basic fact sheet about the coronavirus, based on the most up-to-date information from the Ministry of Health Coronavirus Oversight Committee: what it is, how it spreads, how to prevent it, and respond if/when it reaches your community.
“The majority of the rural elderly population of the country are illiterate and might not have access to newspaper, radio or social media but with a well-planned Coronavirus Awareness and Prevention Campaign at the rural level will have a great impact to address the issue of a coronavirus outbreak in the country.
“The Responsible Health Authority might feel helpless if the virus were to reach the most rural communities in the country,” Pastor George added.
Rural communities could have the most prevalent rate or a higher risk chance of spreading the disease across the country due to: not being able to access healthcare centres or clinics due to isolation, the lack of adequate medical resources and personnel in existing rural healthcare centres, the lack of access to reliable and timely information, the prevalence of unhygienic practices such as shaking hands when greeting, not washing hands frequently, and so on.
Provide educational messaging on transmission, symptoms, prevention, and treatment of the coronavirus is important to save lives. Despite the increasing global health crisis and panic among many in the country, it remains an emerging situation closely monitored by our public health officials.