Health: Rheumatic Heart Disease is preventable

 Health: Rheumatic Heart Disease is preventable  


The Hon. Minister for Health & Medical Services Mr Jone Usamate said that while recent research has shown that Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) is a common cause of death in the pacific, it is preventable through early diagnosis and targeted interventions.

This was revealed today at the launch of the next phase of the RHD Prevention and Control Programme at Novotel, Lami.

“Rheumatic Heart Disease is a common heart condition in Fiji. RHD causes significant morbidity, disability and mortality through childhood and into early adulthood. Recent research has shown that RHD is the most common cause of death for men aged in their 30-40s in Fiji, with death rates also high for teenagers”, said Mr Usamate.

Rheumatic Heart Diseases is caused by streptococcal throat infection which leads to rheumatic fever. Rheumatic fever is an illness commonly seen in children and young adults in Fiji that can lead to heart valve damage.

The Ministry of Health & Medical Services has recently formalized its relationship with Cure Kids New Zealand as partners and co-founders on the next phase of the $5m RHD Control and Prevention Programme for Fiji.

Some of the key elements of the project to be undertaken over the next three years include training of health workers to identify and manage sore throats and skin infections, identify and manage ARF and RHD cases, capture key RHD data, integration with existing health information systems, and cost-effective low-tech interventions such as strengthening primary care treatment of sore throat and skin sores.

Meanwhile, the New Zealand Partnerships for International Development Fund is a major contributor to the Programme along with the technical support provided the by international RHD experts from the Centre for International Child Health at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute Australia and the Auckland District Health Board, New Zealand.





The Minister for Health and Medical Services Hon. Jone Usamate today visited the TISI Sangam School of Nursing and acknowledged the partnership between the school and government in terms of educating more nurses for the country.

“I am impressed with the midwifery models and the capabilities of this school to cater for more nurses for our country,” Minister Usamate said.

Minister Usamate said the institution’s midwifery models allowed students to understand working with real life situations.

“It is very good, the school intends to raise the competency of these student nurses as they are experimenting on models.”

The Health Minister also acknowledged the school for investing in the training of nurses.

“The organisation’s investment will have a positive impact on the people, and when the students graduate they are already well versed with their profession.”

Mr Usamate said he looked forward to more partnership with the school in producing more and better nurses for Fiji.

Mr Usamate added that in the next five years the Ministry will work on increasing the number of nurses in Fiji.

“But with this we must have quality staff who know what their work is and are passionate about the work they do,” Usamate added.

Savusavu hospital receives Rotary assistance

Savusavu hospital receives Rotary assistance


Minister for Health and Medical Services Mr Jone Usamate and other health officials tour the Savusavu hospital

The Savusavu Hospital was boosted with a $70,000 refurbishment to the infrastructure, particularly to the children’s ward and the adjacent wards and lounge by the Rotary club of Savusavu, supported by various Rotary clubs from North America.

The areas of work included an extended recreation centre on the children’s ward, retiling the critical wards, installation of air-conditioners, painting and mounting solar water heaters.

In addition to this the rotary club also provided a safe water station which will be used to purify drinking water.

The Minister For Health and Medical Services Mr Jone Usamate conveyed his gratitude to the Rotary club for taking this bold step in working in partnership with the Ministry to strengthen the health care services.

“On behalf of the government and the all those that use the health facility, I thank you for your donation to the people of Cakaudrove by enhancing the facilities in Savusavu hospital. I acknowledge your hard work in sourcing funds from your various branches to complete the refurbishments”, said Mr Usamate.

The Savusavu hospital have previously been the beneficiary of a number of projects undertaken by the Rotary club and through this partnership will be rewarded further in the future.

Mr Usamate addressed the Savusavu Health staff on good leadership, and ways to inculcate this in their subordinate staff.

“You must accept the vision and the mission of the Ministry as your own vision and mission, so that you become part of the Ministry and in this way you will definitely improve on your performance.”

Mr Usamate will continue touring the Northern health facilities last week.