11 Jul 22
Pasifika Medical Association (PMA) Clinical Director, Dr Nabura Ioteba, says it is important to remind ourselves of the key protocols that have kept us safe during past Covid-19 outbreaks.
“We have just over two years of experience with the Covid-19 outbreak and our health and safety protocols are well practiced.
There’s the basic hygiene of course; remember to always wash your hands with soap and use sanitizers when you’re out and about. Maintaining our physical distancing and the wearing of masks is also very important when out in public.”
As Covid-19 infection numbers climb in our communities, Dr Ioteba, who proudly hails from Kiribati, advises people to be wary of any symptoms they may develop.
“We encourage everyone to monitor for symptoms. With the Omicron variant, there’s a lot more emphasis on symptoms such as coughing, a sore throat, headaches and body pains. If you have any symptoms or are worried that you may have Covid-19, get a test immediately.”
Dr Ioteba also offers some advice around self-isolation for those who are Covid positive, especially with the majority of people isolating and recovering at home.
“It is important that those of us who have Covid-19 follow the key messages, the main one being that you isolate yourself to reduce the risk of infecting others.
When it comes to symptoms, if you have aches and pains, Panadol and Ibuprofen are handy; make sure you keep to the recommended doses. If you have breathing issues, decongestants or steam may be quite helpful.
However, one of the key important messages is to keep your body well hydrated by drinking lots of water as this helps our body’s organs function at optimal levels.”
Dr Ioteba encourages people to call the emergency services (111) if they feel that they need extra care and support.
He also reassures our community that there is available support for anyone whose mental health may be suffering from the impacts of the pandemic.
“Pasifika Futures and our Etu Pasifika clinics in Auckland and Christchurch, offer the Ngalu Fānifo services that focus on mental health needs. In addition, you can free text 1737 to talk to a trained counsellor. Otherwise, don’t be afraid to reach out to your GP so they can refer you to the right support”.
In light of Kiribati Language Week, Dr Ioteba offers a word of encouragement in the language as we continue to navigate the challenges of Covid-19.
“Baina te akoi ao tai maaku ni kakaea buokam.
Te buti n aoraki ae riki ngkai, bon tiaki te kai n nano ke te rawawata ae kona karawawatako iainti ngkoe; e bon bebete ngkana ti makuri ma n ibuobuki ma teuana te nano inanon tai nikanganga aikai.”
[These are changing times and so mental health is crucial. Be kind to each other and don’t be afraid to seek help.
This pandemic is not an individual battle or burden; we can make it more bearable by working together and supporting each other through these times.]
Date: Monday 11 July 2022