- Option 1: Stop flights
- Option 2: Prepare Institutional Quarantine places to Quarantine all incoming passengers.
The level of epidemic Solomon Islands is at now is we have no case as yet which mean we MUST PREVENT IT FROM COMING IN.
Our threat now are our port of entry. The sea port are easy to manage with some control except when conflict of interest.
Our weak point is the Airport. This is where all the focus and energy should be in now. We have two options.
Option 1: Stop flights
Option 2: Prepare Instituitional Quarantine places to Quarantine all incoming passengers.
Both options have pros and cons.
If we weigh the capability of our health system to handle an outbreak of COVID-19, option 1 is the best.
If we believe in our capability to effectively and effeciently handle the Quarantine Approach then we choose option 2. To date our quarantine approach has alot of gaps.
We are doing home Quarantine. The risk is very high in this approach because the person quarantine is incharge. We ONLY HOPE, THEY FOLLOW THE ADVISE! If they dont then this is exactly how we will have an outbreak within our country.
Learning from China experience, 75 -85% of transmission was through the family cluster.
For Solomon Islands, our cultural practise of extended family and overcrowded homes are our real THREAT to prevent the spread of COVID-19. An outbreak in Solomon Island will be like an uncontrolled bush fire with very few FIRE FIGHTERS!
Having an instituitional Quarantine space is the only option, if opt for this approach. This will give the Authority some control in monitoring and containing the COVID -19 infection if one or few of those quarantined developed the disease. This would be a better option than Home.The reality of our situation now is, we already have our children, brothers, sisters returning home from infected countries and NOW SAID TO BE QUARANTINED at home. How well we impliment this is unknown.
I want to believe the family members understand the importance of adhering to the advice of the Quarantine and Health Surveilliance for home Quarantine.
For us who return from affected Countries, trusted and believe that we dont have the infection. However, there are possibility that we might come into contact with someone infected at early stage. We wont feel sick as we enter our country. This is because the incubation period for COVID-19 range from 2 to 12.5 days, median of 5 to 6 days. This is the number of days it takes before someone feel sick.
The real danger if we dont comply with the quaratine advices is we will put the lives of our aging parents and those with NCDs at greater risk!
Statistics from China, Italy and countries having the epidemic around the world showed the vulnerable population that will die are elderly and people with underlying medical conditions. These people seccumb because their immune system are weak.
I believe we have those vulnerable people in our homes today. This is the very reason why we need to adhere to the quarantine advise.
TO ALL OUR RETURNING CITIZENS, YOU CAN PREVENT AN OUTBREAK AND PROTECT YOUR AGING PARENTS AND GRAND PARENTS AND THE VULNERABLE POPULATION, IF WE CONSIDER OURSELVES AS A CASE AND COMPLY WITH THE QUARANTINE RULES.
FOLLOWING THOSE SIMPLE RULES WILL SAVE LIVES OF OUR LOVED ONES IN SOLOMON ISLANDS.
Those of us who are young and strong like most of our University stidents who are returning will only have mild disease if we have the COVID infection, unless our immune sytem is weak thru drug abuse and unhealthy diet and life style.
Should we have an outbreak within our country. Our health system doesnt have the capacity to handle it. We dont have the standard facilities,equipments and specialized workforce to handle the comications should they occur. We have very limited workforce to handle the outbreak should it happen.
The risk is very high for the workforce. This pandemic cost lives and health of health workers in countries that are affected heavily. These countries have best health systems yet they crumbled, how much more ours. We wont stand a chance in the face of outbreak.
Solomon Islands Health System will crawl on its knee in terms of skilled health workforce should an outbreak occur and lives and health of the limited workforce are affected.
Not only are the healtj workforce workers, they are family members and bread winners in their homes. The life of a Health worker will be sleepless nights, social isolation, mental exhaustion and physical fatigue as they will sacrifice their life to care for our loved ones.
All these can be prevented or minimize by our behaviours and choices.
All of us have roles and responsibilities to prevent and minimize the impact of COVID-19 in our country. The govt has its role and so are we in our homes as individual, family and community.
Simple behavioural change and decision making can make major impact, whether for good or bad.
In each home now, please have a plan for isolation and quarantine for members who are sick. Please see health authorities for advice and guidance.
For communities, develop strategic plans to look after health and welfare of the community.
We need to be responsible.
Alot is at stake in this pandemic- the economic and health risks. I know this the challenge for a government.
The governments delima is the choice between these two options.
Option 1- Stop flights associated with economic risk, etc
Option 2- Quarantine, when poorly managed has greater Health Risk.
If I were to choose between the two. I would choose option 1.
A personal perspective through the lens of a frontliner.
Dr. Jones Ghabu