Random Analytica

Random thoughts, charts, infographics & analysis. Not in that order

Month: December, 2019

Random Analytica: Samoa Measles Outbreak (2019)

The Samoan Government declared a State of Emergency on the 15th November 2019 and has subsequently extended that period until the 29th December. Via the Samoan Government. National Measles Response and Recovery Appeal 6 December 2019. Excerpt:

The Samoa Ministry of Health declared a national measles outbreak on 16 October 2019. There is widespread community transmission, with the outbreak strain the same as that causing the current outbreak in New Zealand. The Government of Samoa declared a state of emergency on 15 November 2019. Under the new Orders of the State of Emergency the Government has made vaccination mandatory for priority groups. Samoa activated its National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) on 15 November which meets daily to coordinate the emergency response and provides updates on the situation. Under the national order, various restrictions have been implemented including limitations on inter-island travel for all individuals below 19 years of age; temporary closure of schools, and strongly advising children not to attend public gatherings or attending any medical facility, unless they require medical attention. Immunised pregnant women are further restricted from attending their place of employment (public and private sector).

Infographic updated with data to 24th December 2019 via @samoagovt.

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21. Mefloquine Dispatches: Mindfulness, 5th December 2019

We sit across from each other. A small coffee table and my phone separate us. My psychologist will be helping me make this difficult call. I have spent the best part of a year working towards this point. I’m emotionally attached to this phone-call.

Today we are using a combination of mindfulness and a safe-place to ensure I stay calm. We reinforce my safe space with Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy.

I make the call.

The conversation takes approximately 10-minutes. For me I am relating an incident that occurred almost 23-years ago. Yet it feels like it was just months previously. That’s just the amnesia. I go through the details of the incident. I get an acknowledgement and a contact person to reach out to.

We finalise the call and move over to the coffee machine so I can regather.

The emotion and the adrenaline have started to kick in. My jaw tightens. As does my chest. My voice wavers. My hands start to shake. My psychologist picks up on this straight away. He wants to bring me back down immediately.

We return to our chairs.

“I’ve got this” I say.

I close my eyes. I control my breathing which has a ragged edge to it. I imagine my safe-place. I focus entirely on my breathing.

I take an initial deep breath.

I focus on my safe-place.

A second deep breath.

Safe-place.

A third deeper breath.

I open my eyes.

I look at my psychologist. I grin. My jaw has relaxed. My shaking has disappeared. My breathing has normalised.

It took less than a minute. Rather than kick-off I am calm. We are both impressed by my progress. Just weeks before I would have been raging.

In the coming months there will be more difficult phone calls. Difficult situations. Chance encounters which I cannot control.

Practicing mindfulness is not only helping me cope with old trauma and new memories it is allowing me to operate in the real world.

One breath at a time.

 

If you or someone you know needs help, please phone Lifeline on 131 114, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 or Open Arms on 1800 011 046.

20. Mefloquine Dispatches: 1800 MEFLOQUINE, 10th May 2019

I am at the RSL sub-branch. We sit in the small office, my Advocate and I awaiting our coffees from the café next door. We chat about things that are going on in our lives. It is one of our little rituals.

The coffees arrive.

L* (my Advocate) thinks we should ring the 1800-MEFLOQUINE number today before we put in any paperwork. Mefloquine, unlike other defence related injuries has its own helpline.

I don’t handle calls to the DVA very well but L* is there to do the talking so I agree.

We call 1800-MEFLOQUINE.

The young lady who answers the phone is professional, personable, helpful but doesn’t know anything about mefloquine.

L* asks if we have a claim that is mefloquine related is there a fast-track process and is there someone available to talk us through it.

We are told that the 1800-MEFLOQUINE number is now going through to the main contact line and there are no specialists available to talk to. It seems the call-line is about to be  archived due to a lack of need.

Another frustration. L* and I put some of the paperwork through anyway. Hopefully we can get it in time to be amongst the Veterans receiving the anti-malarial health checks which we are told by the Minister will be available in July.

Several frustrating months later I am happy to report that the 1800-MEFLOQUINE number is back up and running. Also there is another commitment to the anti-malarial health checks.

Not in July 2019 as promised.

In 2020.

That aside, we are starting to make some progress. I’ll be ringing 1800-MEFLOQUINE this Thursday with a witness to formally report mefloquine exposure on Operation BARITONE..

Let’s see how they go the second time around.

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If you or someone you know needs help, please phone Lifeline on 131 114, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 or Open Arms on 1800 011 046.

19. Mefloquine Dispatches: Lord Dannatt, 28th November 2019

Over the weekend I come across a story from Britain.

Lord Dannatt, who was chief of the general staff in the UK between 2006 and 2009, warns of a suicide epidemic amongst veterans during a visit to the Portsmouth-based military support group Forgotten Veterans UK.

During his visit he talks about the cost effectiveness of the work being undertaken by the charity as well as  how the government of the day and charities should be doing more. Via The News. Former British Army boss brands UK’s veteran suicide crisis the ‘epidemic of our time’. Excerpt:

Britain’s veteran suicide crisis has been branded part of the ‘epidemic of our time’ by the former head of the British Army, who admitted more needs to be done to stop traumatised troops from killing themselves.

General Lord Richard Dannatt admitted he was appalled by the number of people taking their lives in the UK and described the situation as a ‘tragedy’.

Lord Dannatt has come up on my radar previously. Not because he took mefloquine but because he refused it on health grounds. Via The Guardian. Ex-army chief apologises to troops over anti-malaria drug. Excerpt:

Lord Dannatt, who was chief of the general staff between 2006 and 2009, told BBC2’s Victoria Derbyshire programme he would not take the drug because of his son’s experience with it.

Dannatt said his son Bertie had suffered mental health problems after taking two doses of Lariam before visiting Africa in the late 1990s. He was not in the armed forces at the time but had been prescribed the drug by his father’s army doctor.

He is currently the highest ranking officer on record to refuse mefloquine. Mefloquine is a drug that is known to increase the chance of suicide amongst veterans.

Oh, the hypocrisy of old Generals.

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Picture: Habibur Rahman (via The News)

 

If you or someone you know needs help, please phone Lifeline on 131 114, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 or Open Arms on 1800 011 046.