Ni-Vanuatu Student In Fiji Dies From Dengue Fever

admin's picture

Well respected public health student mourned by community

By Winston Tarere in Fiji

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Feb. 28, 2014) – The Vanuatu student and working community here in Suva are in a state of shock as they mourn the tragic loss of one of their own, Markson Tetaun of Wowo village in North Malekula.

He died at the Colonial Memorial Hospital on Tuesday this week.

Tetaun was admitted at the Colonial Memorial Hospital (CWM) on Saturday (February 15) diagnosed with dengue fever. He died from internal bleeding when the disease developed into its life threatening stage known as dengue hemorrhagic fever.

He becomes the third victim of the outbreak of dengue fever here in Fiji. He is survived by his wife, a daughter and a son.

It is unclear where the mosquito borne disease was transmitted to him but he was in Vanuatu for a short trip in January before coming back into Fiji around the time both countries were announcing their outbreaks of dengue.

In Fiji the hospitals in the West especially Lautoka has had difficulty with space, trying to accommodate all the cases that come in through the outpatient wards. Special tents have been setup outside the hospital on the lawns to accommodate the influx of patients.

The Vanuatu High Commissioner to Fiji, Nikenike Vurobaravu, said the office here in Suva is doing its normal consular duties to make necessary arrangements with local authorities here to facilitate the repatriation of Markson Tetaun's body and his family back to Vanuatu.

His body is scheduled to arrive back in Port Vila this Saturday from Nadi.

However, the low pressure system in Fiji and its threat of becoming a cyclone could cause some delay if there is flooding in Nadi.

The Meteorological Service has warned that associated heavy rain and strong winds pose risks of flooding with the conditions conducive to the system developing into a category one storm by Friday or Saturday.

Yesterday the Fiji Time reported that Airports Fiji Limited was already in talks with the Fiji Meteorological Services over contingency measure to be put in place if the situation deteriorated.

Climatology PhD student Silas Tigona said the current system will bring more rain to Fiji which means that it will provide ideal conditions for the dengue outbreak to continue to thrive here in Fiji.

Students are advised to take precautionary measures in protecting themselves against dengue and the aedes mosquitoes which transmit the disease only during the day.

The government through the ministry of Education will fund Tetaun’s final journey back to Vanuatu. A representative from the scholarship office will arrive this week in Suva to accompany the deceased and his family back to Vanuatu. Daily Post understands that the ministry of health will organize his final passage home from Vila to Norsup, to his final resting place.

This is the first time for Vanuatu students here at in Fiji to witness the passing of a fellow student while on study and it has brought out the depth of the sense of community that exists among the students here. All the students from the University of the South Pacific (USP) and FNU have since receiving the message shown tremendous support to Tetaun's family in both their presence and their contribution to cater for those who gather to mourn this tragic loss.

Tetaun is described by FSM students as a father figure and a great leader. He was chosen as the President for the Vanuatu students association at FSM which numbers around seventy students with thirteen doing medicine (MBBS) and the rest doing public health and other health related courses at FSM, at the Fiji National University (FNU).

Tetaun was a public servant having served in the ministry of health before being awarded a scholarship to come and further his education in his field of public health as an administrator. He died serving his nation and people.

Dengue is transmitted by several species of mosquito within the genus Aedes, principally Aedes aegypti. The virus has five different types of infection with one type usually gives life long immunity to that type, but only short term immunity to the others. Subsequent infection with a different type increases the risk of severe complications.

The Ministry of Health here in Fiji is organizing an awareness campaign at the University of the South Pacific today Thursday 27th February on the know-how's of what to do in-order to save lives at the earliest stages possible.

The current outbreak in Vanuatu is the fifth dengue outbreak in Vanuatu since 1970.

A survey conducted by the South Pacific Community (SPC) reports that the worst ever dengue outbreak in Vanuatu was back in 1989 where around 3000 people were admitted for dengue, with twelve deaths.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment