Category Archives: PRESS RELEASE

Health Ministry committed to eliminate Lymphatic Filarisis

Health Ministry committed to eliminate Lymphatic Filarisis


Mere Rainima of WHO in discussion with Dr Mike Kama of MOH at the launch of the hydrocelectomy project.

The Ministry of Health & Medical Services, in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO), launched the surgical intervention of Lymphatic Filariasis at Labasa hospital yesterday.

The Hon. Assistant Minister for Health & Medical Services Mrs Veena Bhatnagar said that approximately 140 hydrocele surgeries were conducted annually since 2010 and through the mass drug administration and other concerted effort, the endemic status has been brought to less that 1% in majority of the medical divisions in Fiji.

“The Ministry of Health advises people with symptoms of the disease to present themselves to health facilities so that they can be assisted with surgical interventions”.

Lymphatic filariasis, commonly known as elephantiasis, is a painful disfiguring disease. While the infection is usually acquired in childhood, its visible manifestations occur later in life, causing temporary or permanent disability.

The disease is caused by three species of thread-like nematode worms, known as filariae – Wuchereria bancrofti, Brugia malayi and Brugia timori.

Filarial infection can cause a variety of clinical manifestations, including lymphoedema of the limbs, genital disease (hydrocele, chylocele, and swelling of the scrotum and penis) and recurrent acute attacks, which are extremely painful and are accompanied by fever.

While the Health Ministry concentrates on the surgical interventions, the WHO has committed to provide technical support in the efforts to eliminate the disease.

Through this initiative the Health Ministry is in the final phase of the mass drug administration campaign with the hope to eliminate the disease in the not too distant future.

Outgoing Cuban Ambassador meets Mr Usamate.

Outgoing Cuban Ambassador meets Mr Usamate.


The outgoing ambassador of Cuba Her Excellency Mrs Maria del Carmen Herrera Caseiro   made a courtesy call on the Minister for Health and Medical services Mr Jone Usamate last week. Fiji and Cuba entered into diplomatic relations in 2003. Cuba has one of the best systems in the health sector globally, and offers government scholarships to Fijian Students to study medicine and surgery (MBBS). Currently 8 fijian students are studying in Cuba.




Breast milk is the perfect food for babies. It contains antibodies that help fight infection and decrease allergies. It has the perfect amount of nutrients and is easily digested. It’s cheap and readily available at the right temperature ALL the time. It helps with bonding and development. It decreases the chances of having diarrhoea, pneumonia and ear infection. It can also protect mother’s health by reducing the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, osteoporosis, post-partum depression and helps lose weight quickly.

The initial attachment to breast is to be done within the first hour of life with mother and baby having skin to skin contact. This will increase bonding while allowing baby to get warm and cozy.

In the first few days mothers produce liquid gold called Colostrum. This milk is rich in antibodies and white cells that help protect against infection and allergies. It acts as a purgative that helps clear meconium and prevent skin to turn yellow. It also has growth factors that help intestine to mature, prevent allergies and intolerance.

Thereafter, there is a transition into mature milk which has 2 components – fore milk and hind milk. The foremilk is lighter in colour and has more water content to quench baby’s thirst. The hind milk is dark white or yellow in colour and has more fat to help with baby’s growth.

It is recommended that babies be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life. This means that the only thing baby needs is breast milk alone; there is no need to give water, sugar water, fruit juice or anything else to supplement breast milk.