Support for Fiji’s meningococcal outbreak

MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
The Hon Julie Bishop MP

MINISTER FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND THE PACIFIC
Senator the Hon Concetta Fierravanti-Wells

21 May 2018

Support for Fiji’s meningococcal outbreak

The Australian Government is assisting the Government of Fiji to respond to a recent meningococcal outbreak.

On 21 March 2018, the Fiji Government declared the meningococcal disease had affected 37 people.  Since 2016, 128 cases have been reported in Fiji, of which 12 have been fatal.  Meningococcal disease is an uncommon but serious bacterial infection which can be fatal if untreated, and poses a particular risk for children.  Prevention through vaccination is the most effective strategy for limiting deaths and complications associated with the disease.

At Fiji’s request, Australia is providing $1 million for the procurement of around 75,000 doses of the vaccine.  On 14 May 2018, Fijian officials began the first phase of their vaccination program, targeting around 125,000 children from high-risk groups to contain the outbreak.  The second phase of the vaccination rollout will take place over the next three months, targeting 200,000 Fijian’s aged between one and 19 years old.

Through Australia’s Pacific regional health security initiatives, we are supporting organisations such as WHO, UNICEF, and the South Pacific Community (SPC) that are providing technical support to the Fiji Government to plan, resource, and execute its national response to the meningococcal disease outbreak. Our support for the vaccination campaign forms part of our ongoing work to assist Fiji to strengthen its national health systems.

Fiji is a close neighbour and a popular tourist destination for Australians.  In 2017, around 350,000 Australians visited Fiji.  We encourage Australians to visit Smart Traveller on the DFAT website before travelling.