‘Reduce cost of vaccines’

Evelyn Nagaiya Kumar with pictures of her younger brother Elshin Nagaiya who passed away on May 20 from Men C.Picture: BALJEET SINGH

A FAMILY who lost their 30-year-old son Elshin Nagaiya to meningococcal C in Nadi is calling on Government to reduce the cost of vaccines for the deadly disease.

The nightclub stock controller died on May 20 this year from MenC at the Lautoka Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.

Mr Nagaiya’s elder sister Evelyn Nagaiya Kumar said an ordinary Fijian would not be able to afford the vaccine.

“It’s $200 for an injection for one person,” she said.

“That is too expensive. We are a family of four, that’s $800 out of our pocket. I feel sorry for a poor family that will not be able to afford something that we need to protect ourselves.”

Mrs Kumar said after her brother’s death, immediate family members were given a ciproxin tablet each.

She said the lack of awareness for people above the age of 19 worried her.

“What I don’t understand is why there was no awareness on this. We only know that there was a vaccination done for children under the age of 19 last year.

“What they didn’t inform us was that people above 19 could die from this disease. Mrs Kumar is adamant that health authorities have not been upfront with members of the public.

“There needs to be more awareness done. They are saying that the cases are only coming from Nadi and Sigatoka, so what are they doing about it?

“They need to tell us what is happening and make the vaccines more available and affordable. I’ve seen what this disease has done to my brother and I don’t want that happening to my family especially to my children.”

After the death of another Nadi resident last week, Mrs Kumar said the incident brought back memories of her own experience. “We were helpless and just watched him slowly deteriorate.

“I’ll never forget that day. Every hour of that day is burned into my memory.

“I don’t want my brother to die in vain. People should be able to protect themselves from a disease that can take someone’s life in less than 24 hours.”

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health confirmed 30 cases of suspected meningococcal have been reported to the ministry this year. Acting head of Health Protection Dr Aalisha Sahu Khan said out of the 30, 10 were confirmed to be meningococcal disease.

“Of these confirmed cases there has been a mix of meningococcal B (our normally circulating type before last year’s outbreak) and meningococcal C,” she said.

“This year’s cases have been in the Western and Central divisions.”

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