Team Fiji’s Chef De Mission, Ajay Ballu, reassures families of athletes and officials amid malaria advisories for the 17th Pacific Games in the Solomon Islands.
The reassurance comes after Solomon Islands authorities and Games Committee officials advised about malaria cases in the country, urging everyone to take precautions.
Ballu shared Team Fiji’s approach: “We’ve prepared for this, starting medication before coming into Solomon. Two days before they had to start and when in Honiara, every morning, and when we go back we will continue until our prescription finishes. We have given them repellents.”
Regarding the safety and well-being of Team Fiji’s contingent, Ballu said, “I don’t think there’s anything to worry about. The team is healthy, focused, and are playing well.”
Dr. Jimmie Rodgers, Secretary to the Solomon Islands Prime Minister’s Office and Chairman of the Pacific Games 2023 National Hosting Authority, stressed the importance of personal protection and urged vigilance during the high-biting period from 6 to 9 pm.
“We have malaria in the Solomon Islands. Be aware it’s present. Incidence in Honiara was high, though it has decreased. Personal protection is crucial. Mosquito repellent is effective.”
More than 150 athletes and officials, whose events are scheduled for the first week of the Pacific Games 2023, are currently accommodated at Team Fiji’s base camp at St Nicholas College in Honiara.
The Solomon Islands, hosting the Pacific Games for the first time in its 17th edition, typically experiences an increase in malaria cases between February and May, the peak season. Precautionary advice was issued this year after provinces reported more cases, not considered an outbreak. The rise in cases was attributed to low stocks of anti-malarial drugs, including primaquine, and poor compliance with treatment, notably for Vivax malaria, constituting around 60 percent of cases in 2022.