Category Archives: SPEECHES

WORLD AIDS DAY -2018

KEYNOYE ADDRESS AT THE WORLD AIDS DAY -2018

01-12-18

Good Morning to you all

It is an honor for me to address you all this morning as we mark World AIDS Day 2018.

On this occasion of the 30th World Aids Day it is necessary that we start by having a special thought for all of the millions people, mainly young men and women, who were robbed of their normal life span and who succumbed to this terrible disease for lack of knowledge, care, treatment and fear of stigma and discrimination. Since it came on the scene in 1981, it has wreaked havoc and unquantifiable loss for mankind and has caused a serious setback for the world at large.

Today, we obviously know much more than what was known in 1981. There was a time when it was taboo in society even to mention HIV & Aids. But we have travelled a long way since those days and I am happy that all countries speak openly about it today. This can only be right because it is only when we come face to face with the problem and we realize the magnitude of the harm it is continuing to cause that we are galvanized into taking firm measures.

It is, therefore, most important that everyone knows his/her HIV status. Ignorance on this matter can cause death of innocent individuals. There have been cases where people who are infected have not shared this knowledge with their sex partners who in turn got infected.

In some countries such behavior is considered a serious criminal offence. I am of the view that it is imperative for sexual partners to be absolutely open with each other about their HIV status for their mutual protection.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is important that each year we mark World AIDS Day. The Fiji Government continues to support this cause and looks forward to new partnership with support agencies and other stakeholders, on top of the work that we’re doing to complement what is a concerted effort and most certainly a cause that we will uphold for years to come until we are free of HIV.

Today we also acknowledge the many health care workers, social workers and educators in hospitals, clinics, schools, orphanages and in our communities who have devoted their lives to increasing awareness on HIV transmission, prevention and treatment. By their expertise and provision of service we feel very proud to have developed our own Fijian made professionals in this field of HIV care.

We wish to appeal to every sector of society to take this campaign seriously to build the capacity of our people, girls, boys, the young and the old and to make responsible decisions about their lives and careers.
We call on our traditional leaders, religious leaders, civil society formations, government departments and the private sector to learn more about the HIV prevention campaign and to support it.

We know that stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV makes it a challenge for people to test for HIV and for those infected to seek treatment.
We know that the marginalization, discrimination and persecution of vulnerable groups only create conditions for the spread, not prevention of HIV.
We also know that HIV thrives where women are disempowered and excluded from education, employment and economic opportunities, therefore we must ensure equality and equity for all.
The health and growth of our economy depends on the wellbeing and capabilities of our people.
To develop the economy of the country, we need people who are healthy and living productive lives.
The epidemics of HIV, TB and non-communicable disease drain the economy of its most talented people in their most productive years.
This means that all sectors of society must contribute to improvements in the health outcomes of our nation.

Statistics

HIV/AIDS has spread so fast in the world, especially in the poor and developing nations of the world that it has posed a serious threat against human existence. It kills over 300,000 people a year. It can affect anyone regardless of your race, sex, or age. It cannot be seen, cured, or destroyed. It is capable of destroying millions of people without wars or violence.

Around the world today, half of all new HIV infections are experienced by adolescents aged 15-24yrs, for us in Fiji HIV infections is common among the age group of 20 -29 years.

This shows that a large number of our young people are sexually active at an early age, are not monogamous, and do not use condoms regularly. Other than that, experimentation with drugs (drugs), including by injection, often makes our young ones vulnerable to HIV & Sexually transmitted infection, and adolescent pregnancy. Ignorance about how HIV & STI is transmitted and how to avoid infection exacerbates our young people’s vulnerability.

Young people are at the centre of the global AIDS epidemic.

HIV INCIDENCE:  The Incidence rate 2018 is  0.082 per 1000 population which means in 2018, out of every 100,000 people, more than 8 people were newly diagnosed with HIV.

HIV PREVALENCE: Total number of cases diagnosed with HIV since the start of the epidemic (1989 – 2018) in Fiji is 927, giving an annual prevalence rate of 1.107 per 1,000 population or one person per every 1000 population

MOHMS Initiatives

  1. Accessibility (equal distribution): this is the first and most important key priority for the Ministry’s efforts to tackle HIV in the country. Healthcare services is equally shared by all the people of the community irrespective of their race, religion or economic status. This concept helps to shift the accessibility of healthcare from the cities to the rural areas where the most needy and vulnerable groups of the population live through the provision of targeted population awareness, one-to-one counseling sessions, free screening programs, and free testing services, And right now as part of the WAD programme, and to match the Theme this year, there is free testing campaign for HIV so we can all know our status.
  2. Antiretroviral Treatment Services: ART is free! As the number of ART clients increases, the quality of service provision has improved over the years to include the increase in the number of health facilities providing ART, and also ART is provided free of charge to people requiring this treatment. These services are supported to ensure services are provided free of stigma and discrimination, and also encourage eligible patients to seek treatment.
  3. Develop a stronger linkage between HIV and TB program to ensure appropriate referral and treatment for co-infected patients
  4. Strengthen linkages in our clinical and public health management systems as the care for HIV must continue after the screening of a positive client.

Stakeholder support

We also acknowledge the tremendous contributions of our technical partners, WHO, UNAIDS, UNICEF, UNDP, DFAT, MFAT and other important agencies that I may have failed to mention this morning, I sincere take this time to thank you for your continuous support over the years.

It must be realised that MOHMS cannot do it alone therefore your support is vital to address the issues at stake in making our country AIDS free.

We also thank our Non-Governmental organizations for taking the initiative to expedite and provide services to assist and complement the services provided by MOHMS in the continuum of care for HIV

Conclusion

The MOHMS continues to advocate for prevention, Promoting Wellness to all.

We need our Community to look after the health and wellbeing of our children, adolescents and young people, we need you all to be promoting health, prioritizing education, avoiding circumstances that supports the development of unlawful activities.  Through health promotion individuals and families build an understanding of the determinants of health and develop skills to improve and maintain their health and wellbeing throughout the life course.

Multi-sectorial collaboration with government agencies, non-governmental organizations, donor agencies, any other group with the passion to do things better for to provide quality HIV care services must be encouraged. Our Faith Based Organizations can also play a major role in promoting and encourage openness and positive living.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Today’s event is an appropriate recognition of the extraordinary progress made…and an important reminder that the most profound challenge still remains before us. There is currently no cure for AIDS, but treatments do exist which can slow the progress of AIDS.

Before you can get treatment you need to be tested, so ladies and Gentlemen get tested for HIV, it is free, and ‘KNOW YOUR STATUS TODAY’.

Thank you, Vinaka Vakalevu and Dhanyavaad

Opening of the Valelevu Health Centre24 hour service

EVENT: LAUNCHING OF VALELEVU HEALTH CENTRE 24-HOURS GENERAL OUTPATIENT SERVICES

VENUE:    VALELEVU HEALTH CENTRE

DATE:     WEDNESDAY 17TH JANUARY 2018

TIME:      3PM  

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, Good afternoon!

It is a great privilege and honor to be here among you all for the official launching of the Valelevu Health Centre 24/7 hours health services that we have embarked on since the beginning of this week.

Ladies and gentlemen, Valelevu Health Centre is one of the biggest and busiest health center in Suva subdivision serving a total of 58,000 population.  On a daily basis, this health centre serves an average of 500 to 700 patients per day and even reaching up to 900 patients during disease outbreaks.  And now with the opening of its doors for 24 hours and 7 days a week, Valelevu health centre is expected to serve an estimated population of about 200,000 people along the Suva-Nausori corridor.

Ladies and gentlemen, by way of background, the Valelevu Health Centre was established in 1982 covering the areas from Kenova to Laqere.  It first started as a primary health care facility that provided 8-hour services.

Due to increasing population and demand for better health services, in 2009, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services have ventured into extending the health centre’s operating hours to 16 hours a day from 6:30am to 10pm; and since Monday, 15th January this year, Valelevu health centre is now open 24 hours!

These developments are aligned with the ongoing efforts of the Fijian Government to reachout to all Fijians be it through education, health, infrastructure, housing, primary industries and trade to name a few.

My ministry’s vision is creating “A healthy population” and to realize this vision, the Fijian Government is committed to enhance and improve access to health services for our ordinary Fijians through creating a supportive environment such as this 24-hour services at Valelevu health centre.

What will this 24-hour services at Valelevu health centre mean for all of us?  This means that people living along the Suva – Nausori corridor that needs urgent medical attention and those who are critically ill will have access to medical services day and night. All in all it means through better service, better care leading to better health.

It also means that people who are victims of road accidents which is common along the Suva-Nausori roads and injuries are attended to at the health centre and stabilized before transfer to CWM hospital. This will also mean, unnecessary pain, suffering, hospitalizations, disability and even premature deaths is prevented or reduced. This will also mean that people will still be able to access health services without missing work or school and prevent people from overcrowding the health centre during early hours in the morning and in the afternoon after work or school rushing to the health centre before it closes.

The Fijian government has committed a lot of resources towards the realization of this 24-hour services.  The number of doctors and nurses was increased to cater for this additional service.  A 24-hour ambulance services will be based at this health centre for rapid response and transfer of acutely ill patients. The place where we are currently standing will be renovated to ensure a more spacious and suitable waiting area is provided for the patients and their relatives.

A modern and much improved emergency department will be built on the current existing wooden building on your left side when you exit the main gate.

These developments are in addition to the current and ongoing quality improvement programs undertaken by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services to ensure that its customers, the patients and their families are provided the best health care services that they deserve. For the last 5 years the Fijian Government has invested a total of $102million into upgrading and constructing new health facilities around Fiji. In the Suva- Nausori corridor there are new health facilities to open that will uplift the health services and improve accessibility. We are looking at the new Makoi Maternity Unit and Naulu (Nakasi HC). The Makoi Maternity Unit will initially offer ambulatory services such as antenatal clinics, maternal and child health clinics, family planning and ultrasound. When fully open the Unit will also have 18 inpatient beds and three delivery rooms for low risk births. Ladies and gentlemen, the CWMH since 2015 has also got 4 new state of the art theater, Intensive Care Unit, Burns Unit and Coronary Care Unit.  Similarly, the Raiwaqa Health Centre was also uplifted to include the dentistry services.

Ladies and gentlemen, apart from the capital projects the Ministry also strategizes on modernised systems that generate multiple benefits in terms of enhancing patient care and staff role. One of such systems includes the implementation of the electronic Queue Management System (QMS) which all of you are familiar with that was introduced in 2015 and has been actively operating at this health centre since January last year.

You can vouch it yourselves that before this new queue system, this waiting area was overcrowded and too noisy like a market place with everyone rushing to be seen by our staff.  But now, everyone is seen by a doctor in an orderly and fair fashion, reducing patient’s waiting time, stress and anxiety while waiting.

This electronic queue system also measures our staff service time and provides an effective system of monitoring staff workload, to allow greater management to improve efficiency and productivity serving waiting patients.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Ministry of Health and Medical services is mandated to provide equitable, accessible and quality health services to the people of Fiji.

We exist to help people maintain the highest level of good health that is attainable, that is a state of complete physical, mental, social well-being and free from disease.  However, each one of us has the responsibility of looking after our own health, our family’s health. In order to do this, we need to keep ourselves healthy.  Like they say, prevention is better than cure so we need to be proactive and take measures to stay healthy. We need to breathe fresh air by keeping our environment free from pollution and tobacco smoke. We need to eat a healthy and balanced diet with 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables every day.

We need to control the use of alcohol and too much drinking kava with unhealthy chasers that go with it. We need to be physically active for at least 30 minutes every day. We need to actively participate in our health facilities prevention activities such as NCD and cancer screening.  We need to access health services at the early stage of any illness before it becomes complicated, more costly to treat and not when it’s too late!

I urge everyone here to join our hands together to keep Fiji a happy, healthy and safe place to live in where children are nurtured in body and mind and where people work and age with dignity.

At this juncture, I wish to acknowledge all the staff of Valelevu Health Centre for their commitment and hardwork to deliver the health services to our communities. Likewise, also acknowledge all the staff of MOH including DSHS, Dr Luisa, DMO Central (Dr Dave Whippy) and SDMO (Dr Pablo Romakin) for their dedication, teamwork and commitment to deliver the 24/7 service here at Valelevu HC and we hope that in the near future we will be able to provide similar service to other busy health facilities around Fiji.

Ladies and gentlemen, with these few words, I now have the pleasure in launching the 24 hour services at Valelevu Health Centre.

Thank you.

God Bless.

 

 

ADDRESS – DIABETES/NON COMMUNICABLE DISEASES CONGRESS

 

HON. JONE USAMATE

Minister for Health and Medical Services

 

ADDRESS – DIABETES/NON COMMUNICABLE DISEASES CONGRESS

VENUE: NOVOTEL HOTEL, LAMI

 

WEDNESDAY, 22ND JUNE 2015                                                              9.00 AM

Distinguished Quests

Heads and Members of Diabetes/ NCD congress

Ladies and Gentlemen.

 

Please allow me to wholeheartedly welcome you all to this first ever congress organized by Diabetes Fiji and involving all the stakeholders of Diabetes and NCDs. While appreciating your participation, I am sanguine that you are enjoying good health.

 

As far as diabetes and NCDs are concerned, we all know where we are: in drastic state indeed. We also know where we want to be. This leaves us to determine how we will get there. While the Fijian Government, through Ministry of Health and Medical Services, is doing its best to tackle this overwhelming problem, it has become evident that the Government cannot do it alone. Simply put, we all need your help. It gives me such a pleasure to see you all here. My gratitude comes from the inner most depth of my heart.

 

Although we are faced with unprecedented problem of enormous proportions with Diabetes and other NCDs reaching epidemic levels, we should now move away from the problem-focused mind-set towards solutions orientation. This means that we should all get together to discover options. We need novel ideas to tackle our issues, but we must carry this out in an orderly manner.

 

And this is where I must congratulate you all to initiate and participate in this first ever Diabetes/ NCD congress. I understand that this congress is to help organize your well-meaning but isolated activities into a coherent establishment that will allow us all to deliver the much-needed services more efficiently. It has four achievable aims:

  1. To establish a comprehensive list of all organizations in Fiji involved in Diabetes and NDCs.
  2. To establish a geographical map of all your organizations and the activities you undertake.
  3. To establish a comprehensive reporting system to a central portal for purposes of better organization and support.
  4. To create active liaisons amongst your organization to foster resource sharing.

 

 

 

 

This is also an opportunity to get together, make new networking connections and appreciate each other’s work, and of course enjoy the hospitality provided by Diabetes Fiji. I wish you a very successful congress and, even more efficacious days ahead.

 

Wishing you safe journey back as well.

 

Thank you for coming and helping us all.

 

 

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