Nation needs healing: Khan

Avinesh Gopal in the Fiji Times
Friday, July 22, 2011

THE Fiji Council of Social Services is ready to partner with the Government to combat social ills, threat to peace and human security in Fiji.
It says the revelation by the Health permanent secretary Doctor Salanieta Saketa that more than 400,000 people in Fiji are affected by malnutrition and that there are 365 cases of HIV/AIDS were social horror stories that required immediate attention.

"These social ills together with the rising incidence of non-communicable diseases have the power and the force to derail the success stories of increase in the number of tourists and many other economic developments," FCOSS executive director Hassan Khan said.
"As the Ministry of Finance gears up for the preparation of Budget 2012, the Ministry of Strategic Planning and the Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation must provide holistic social realities to the budget architects of 2012.
"Are we a sick nation when we look at our horror stories?
"Are these not signals of greater and more serious problems upstream?
"Is it not time for us to question the effectiveness of the aid of millions of dollars to organisations who claim to be the gatekeepers of crisis and counselling."
Mr Khan says the Health Ministry has taken many positive steps this year and their efforts must be reflected in the greater financial allocations for physical, social and mental health well being.
Mr Khan said the social protection floor could only be addressed and achieved through a partnership between the Government, civil society organisations and the private sector in the spirit of the People's Charter.
"No one sector could achieve results alone and the partnership must be based on equality and fairness in the sharing of funds and resources," he said.
"There is no need to hire consultants on huge fees to tell us the path to follow."
Mr Khan said Fiji had many tried and tested examples like the partnership in delivery and education, which could be replicated in areas of social well being.


Partying On said…
There are many social 'horror stories' in Fiji. There always have been but in the past, at least, the people could have believed that there were those around, paid from their taxes, who "cared about them".

Is that so now? Was that so under past five or six governments? There was a culture of "Jack's on the Bus", look out for ME. Naked opportunism and 'grab it'. Even on the board of Transparency International Fiji, a board member and his paramour (formerly an employee) were reported by TI NZ to be abusing aid money in Canberra.

Time for transparency on that!

So, volunteering went out of the window? Although there are still devoted and dedicated volunteers in Fiji who are prepared to do things for no remuneration, the entire concept has lost its edge. Doing things for no financial return in a nation where, untestably, 400,000 people are living beneath a reasonable and healthy standard of living, is 'de rigueur' one would think? An ideal to which we should all aspire and if we do not then we should be obliged to pitch in especially the young and able.

A culture of drug-taking, binge drinking and partying held sway in many places in Fiji. While the partying went on women succumbed to anaemia, too early child-birth and.....death. Yes, young girls are dying in child-birth and their babies are dying too. We partied on too pre-occupied to notice.

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