What Does Conflict Have To Do with Dengue Fever?

As many of you may know (or, perhaps the news hasn’t traveled to the mainland, yet), we have a pretty serious Dengue Fever outbreak here in Hawaii. For now, it’s mostly contained to the Big Island, but the potential of widespread infection still looms. So, you can imagine many of us here in Hawaii are a little “on-edge!”

So, what does Dengue Fever have to do with conflict? The answer may surprise you.

As part of our public service (and my job as a producer), we at PBS are planning to do an hour-long show about Dengue Fever. Our goal? Inform our audience, disseminate information about safety, and explore how we can do better at containing the outbreak.

Naturally, we’ve invited the Department of Health, Civil Defense, and an elected representative from the most-affected district to come on the show and discuss the issue.

What we DIDN’T expect was to be turned down! Turns out, the Department of Health and Civil Defense don’t want to come on the show because they don’t want to face criticism about the disease containment operations. What?!

In essence, it’s more important to avoid conflict than it is to help residents protect themselves from this potentially deadly disease.

The who debacle has made me realize how strong the desire to avoid conflict can be, especially when the forum is public. And, those who have the most to lose often are the most fearful. Think about it: How many politicians, movie stars, and millionaires refuse to face their critics? A lot.

What’s interesting is that, in most cases, actually FACING the conflict is much-less scary than one thinks it will be. So, many times, we’ve built-up this idea about the magnitude of the conflict when, in fact, the actual conflict isn’t nearly as terrifying.

Now, if only the Dept. of Health and Civil Defense would read this blog…


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