Category Archives: PRESS RELEASE




Maternal health remains one of the key priorities and is one of two strategic pillars which focuses on the delivery of health services in the National Strategic Plan 2016-2020.

This was highlighted by the Minister for Health and Medical Services Hon. Jone Usamate at the launch of the “Infection Prevention and Control in Maternity Units’ Training Manual” at CWMH in Suva today.

“Based on released World Health Organisation international data, there has been a 50 percent reduction in maternal deaths from preventable causes in 2015 compared to that in 1990” (63/100,000 in 1990 and 30/100, 000 in 2015), Minister Usamate said.

“There was also a decreasing trend at 5 year intervals during that 25 year period, however the reduction fell short of our expectations.”

Minister Usamate added that the Ministry aimed for a 75 percent reduction at least, and continued to focus on maternal health.

“Last year our maternal mortality rate was 44.4 per 100,000 births. The major causes of maternal deaths in Fiji; haemorrhage, sepsis and infection, hypertensive disorders and abortion with other causes”.

“We continue to put in place strategies to ensure that mothers receive quality care and prevent any maternal deaths, and we thank the Australian government through the Fiji Health Sector Support Program for supporting us in our efforts.”

Australian Minister for International Development and the Pacific Steven Ciobo commended the Fijian government for prioritising health care, in particular maternal health.

“This manual timely and the associated programs linked to it will make maternal services safer,” Minister Ciobo said.

The manual will be able to train doctors, nurses and midwifes to prevent and reduce infections in maternity facilities.




Sixteen health inspectors are undergoing a workshop, which aims to enhance Fiji’s National Vector Control Unit’s (NVCU) capacity to respond to vector-borne disease epidemics.

The two-week long training program is being facilitated by representatives of the US Navy’s Environmental Preventive Medicine Unit Six (NEPMU-6), who are based out of Hawaii, and is part of an ongoing subject matter expert exchange plan.

Chief Health Inspector, Mr Dip Chand said it is the first time the US Navy is playing an instrumental role as facilitators for training, which is designed and contextualized to address health issues that are vector borne.

“The workshop can contribute positively in enhancing the Pesticide Act by introducing mechanisms which will screen potential pest control companies that wish to operate in Fiji,” Mr Chand said.

“A cross-sectoral and holistic approach needs to be adopted for the successful implementation of pesticide application and the ministry welcomes the initiative to open dialogue with tertiary institutions that would like to introduce this as a core unit in their curriculum.”

US Navy Lieutenant Dr James Harwood said the team’s core focus would be on pesticide application techniques, pesticide applicator safety and mosquito identification training.

“Fiji is the hub of the Pacific, and is exposed to people coming in from places where malaria occurs, so we will also discuss ways of trapping these mosquitoes and methods used for controlling so that we can build the capacity to respond to those threats,” Dr Harwood said.

“We can’t have these individuals suffering from pesticide when they are ones being relied on to protect us from dengue, chikungunya and other potential virus that could come in”.

Once established, this program has the potential to serve as a regional center of excellence and the training program could be leveraged for other Pacific Island nations.