Category Archives: SPEECHES




Dr. Neil Sharma – Minister for Health – Fiji


The Vice Chancellor Professor Rajesh Chandra

Deputy Vice Chancellor Dr Esther Willams

USP staff and Students

And invited guests


Good afternoon to you all,

I must say that it is indeed encouraging to have the University of the South Pacific on board in this fight against dengue.

By now you all must be aware of the gravity of dengue in our Country. We have recorded a total of 11,356 suspected cases and 13 reported dengue deaths. These figures are alarming and have triggered great concerns.

The Health Ministry has continued to work effectively at addressing the dengue fever outbreak.  Our health facilities and staff have been strained through this dengue outbreak but remain undaunted in providing essential health services to the public.

Dengue is transmitted from person to person by the bite of an infected mosquito. We continue to remind the public that there is no cure or specific treatment for dengue fever. It is appropriate to say that “Prevention is better than cure”.  Hence the need to destroy dengue mosquito breeding places immediately.

For this reason it is necessary to engage in cleaning up our surroundings by getting rid of any receptacles that contains stagnant water. This includes discarding tryes and drums, apart from the coconut shells, cans, tins, white goods and so forth.

Over the past 2 weeks, the Health Ministry along with Public Service Commission has launched a National Cleanup Campaign to destroy mosquito breeding places. This campaign is ongoing and the Health Ministry remains appreciative of the support received from the Government, government ministry’s, stakeholders, partners and communities.

We have received successful reports of the cleanup from as far as Rotuma and Taveuni apart from the cleanups being conducted within our localities.

Your participation, the University of the South Pacific in this ongoing cleanup campaign shows your commitment and concern in effectively and actively participating in the fight against dengue.

We continue to allow dengue cases and deaths to increase because we allow and provide dengue mosquito’s a place to breed.

As a student or lecturer, falling sick with dengue is the last thing you would want to happen. Especially when there is a cost involved, time, resources, fall back from studies, which contribute to the overall performance as a student or lecturer, and ultimately to the University and at large our economy.

It is high time that we all take responsibility in destroying and removing dengue mosquito’s before another loved one falls victim to the dengue virus.

With these words I wish you all a successful and blessed day ahead.

Thank you



Commissioning of Colonial War Memorial Hospital Projects



Dr. Neil Sharma – Minister for Health – Fiji

Medical Superintendent and Management of CWM Hospital

Senior Health Executives

Representatives of our Public Private Partnerships

Digicel and International Women’s Association

Invited Guests

Ladies and Gentleme

I am privileged to be with you this morning to officiate at the Commissioning of projects at CWM Hospital.  Health Systems Reform and Strengthening in the last five (5) years has taken on monumental leaps in Fiji.

We had a fragile system with all components in areas of Human Resource (HR), Technology, Infrastructure and pharmaceutical and medical consumables supplies in dire straits.  A multi prongs approach was utilized to short-medium term gains and improvements.

In the area of HRH

Basic recruitment was increased at both the nursing and medical schools.  Middle level training increased in areas of need.  Overseas experience for postgraduates increased as enhanced cooperation developed in areas of specialist surgery.

Longer term gains will accrue as the Post Graduate programs at Fiji National University’s College, Medicine and Health Science is modernized and adequately manpowered with stronger mentors, teachers and professors


upgrade in the last five (5) years has seen the introduction of mammogram, CAT, MRI, ultrasound and cardiac echo services being developed with Telemedicine links to overseas partners for 2o opinions if needed.

The Cardiology services is almost complete but no quite seamless, with non-invasive cardiac assessment, angiography, stents, valvoplasty, pacemaker services and open cardiac surgery now undertaken at CWM and Lautoka.


We note Governments injection of $30million into infrastructural upgrades in 2014 after a process of rationalizing space utilization.

The East Wing (CWM) is undergoing some very painful modifications.  Shortly the maternity units 1st phase to develop 200 beds, additional delivery suites and operating theatres will be commissioned for 2014 – 2015.

Our focus is nationwide with nursing stations, health centers, subdivisional hospitals receiving a facelift after decades of in attention.

HRH/Technology and Pharmaceutical/Consumable supplies are being reviewed to optimization.

The Position on Pharmaceutical/Medical Consumables

This is a very complex issue with the global market changing, population movement in country, transportation in/out country of items and changing patterns of prescribing.

Our efficiency levels are must more robust, wastage markedly reduced and better procurement, storage and distribution in place.

Safe motherhood Initiatives

byDigicel (CSR) sees the internal renovations of the maternity unit with improved paintwork, sanitary facilities and equipment donations in progress.

We are very grateful to Digicel for this Corporate Social Responsibility whilst Ministry of Health painted the maternity externally in 2013.

The Top Kitchen at CWM

is no longer an Occupational Health and Safety risk with better facilities, a new head dietitian we expect better quality food for our patients and in house staff.

The principles of salt, sugar and oil consumption, based on NCD Best Buys is being promoted further.

Reform in health care have included changing the laws, establishing Policy, Plans and operational implementation.  The Health Policy, Planning, Budget Analysis Unit and the Wellness Unit stand out as two shining examples.

Innovation programs include:

  •  The establishment the Prosthetic Unit for Diabetic and other Amputees.
  •  The step down Stroke Unit at Tamavua
  •  The Diabetic Hubs
  •  The NCD Bus – for outreach
  •  Revitalization of Community Health Worker Program

As the Country moves for Communicable Diseases focus to Non Communicable Disease we have been eclipsed by this dengue outbreak in 2014.

The messages remain clear that the dengue types outbreak is lethal but preventable if all of society takes responsibility.

The Media can very well play the 4th pillar role of governance and encourage and support positive measures to combat stagnant water accumulation and the destruction of mosquito breeding, rather than create fear and a hype about the fatalities which are very sad events on a daily basis.  Ministry of Health offers regular media conferences and has no political agenda on this issue.

Today we have a mix of achievements to share and demonstrate at CWM Hospital through Public Private Partnership and Corporate Social Responsibility with Ministry of Health.

The liquid Cytology Analyzer raises our ability to screen up to 50,000 pap smears with our current staff level.  Cancer Screening becomes a lot more robust as a consequence.

Apart from the HPV vaccine introduce in 2011 with Support of the Government of Australia/Fiji and more recently the trials of V.I.A. and Cyrocautery this analysers will assist positively, hoping to address premature cancer disability and death.

The Urology Clinic with its modern lithotripter will now address kidney stones without the large incisions of the past and long hospital stays.  The unit will become the startup of a male health unit too.

The top of the range lithotripter and Uro-station have has trial runs and successfully treated patients from Fiji wide destinations in the last six (6) weeks.

Finally:  The Old Oxfam Family Planning Clinic has had an extreme makeover thanks to the Executive and Members of the International Womens Association.  The new IWA Wellness Centre will provide a Central Hub for areas of Womens Health incorporating Advocacy on Family Life, Sexual and Reproductive Health, Family Planning, Cancer Screening and Counselling Services.

Bubbly Mohan and Caroline Rouse stand out as women of diamond substance.  Bright, shining, unbreakable, both have been dug out of the depths of Sri Lanka and Australia to impact the lives of our Fijian women.

Ladies we are indebted to both of you and your executive committee.

They will tell you more of their plans for 2014.

Before I conclude – Many thanks to all our Nursing and Medical Staff for all the effort being put up with the excessive strain of this Dengue outbreak.  Sometimes society kills the messenger and does not heed the message.

We do need to up our “internal” and “external” communication skills in situations of grief, dying and death.

This year we must focus on better “human skills”Customers Focus and ownership of the new services and technology.

To the organizers and participants – Thank you and God Bless.




Dr. Neil Sharma – Minister for Health – Fiji

It is indeed a pleasure to be here this evening to witness Fiji Cancer Society launches its website alongside rebranding itself.

However more importantly, I am here to address an area of global concern- Cancer.

Cancer, a non communicable disease has become a global epidemic affecting people of all ages. Unfortunately cancer cases in Fiji have steadily increased over the past several years. Cancer is the 3rd most common cause of death in Fiji.

In Fiji, statistics reveal that there is mostly an increasing incidence of breast, cervix and other reproductive tract cancers in women. In men cancers such as prostate, liver, rectum and lung cancer are becoming commoner.

Since 2009 the Health Ministry has made vast improvements in terms of new advocacy and prevention programs.

We have a much more improved national database in collating cancer statistics. We have recently set up a liquid Cytology screening lab and this was preceded by the introduction of HPV virus vaccination initiative supported by the Fiji and Australian Governments. We have in action the V.I.A (Visual Inspection with Acetic acid and Cyro-cautery) as cost effective means to treat precancerous lesions on the cervix undergoing trials additionally. A rudimentary Domiciliary Palliative Service is operational in Suva and the West with the support of the Fiji Cancer Society.

Cancer remains an area of grave concern to our Government, the Health Ministry and our Country. As such Ministry of Health has taken the lead role by addressing cancer.

Fiji has become a member state of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and representatives from the International Atomic Energy Commission will be here to assist in the establishment of a cancer hospital.

We are indeed grateful towards the Bainimarama Government for endorsing health ministry submissions made towards the establishment of a Cancer hospital, the first of its kind in the small island states in the pacific region.

Currently all cancer cases are being managed in the 3 divisional hospitals (Oncology Units). The local treatment used is in the form of surgical intervention and limited chemotherapy. Those requiring radiotherapy are referred overseas through Government assistance.

Having a Cancer Hospital will centralize all the relevant treatment and management protocols and provide a serene environment for patients and families.

This cancer hospital will now cater for radio therapy facilities which will reduce the number of overseas referrals and ensure cost savings for government.

The Health Ministry through its Wellness Concept has continuously advocated and created awareness on cancer prevention and control program.

The Health Ministry is working with the International Women Agencies and is the final stages of setting up a wellness center for women in Suva. We are also working in partnership with UNFPA and other agencies  towards the setting up of a wellness center in Lautoka.

This center will  provide awareness ,information and services to women on sexual, reproductive health, cancer screenings and counseling sessions.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are gathered here today to launch a new website. This website will provide cancer patients and relatives ,patients and the general public information and access to the work that Fiji Cancer Society undertakes.

We continue to support the Fiji Cancer society and encourage transparency, accountability and responsibility towards public funds and charitable work.

The Health Ministry remains committed towards the reduction of cancer morbidity and mortality, improving the survival rates of cancer cases and improving the quality of life of cancer victims.

Thank you!