Health: Eliminate Lymphatic Filiarisis by 2020

This year’s Lymyphatic Filarisis Mass Drug Administration MDA program will focus on the Eastern Division, Taveuni and Malolo Island.

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This was revealed by the Minister for Health and Medical Services Mr Jone Usamate as he launched the MDA campaign for 2015 at the Health Headquarters in Suva.

Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) commonly referred to as “Tauna” in the Itaukei dialect, has been burdening the lives of Fijians, particularly those living in rural areas, for several decades now.

LF infection which caused by the microscopic worm Wucherera Bancrofti and spread by mosquitoes occurs mostly in childhood, causing hidden damage to the lymphatic system in the body.

Symptoms of the disease, such as elephantiasis (swelling of the legs); hydrocoeles (swelling of the scrotum) and lymphoedema (cycles of fever), occur later in adult life and can be painful and profoundly disfiguring leading to permanent disability.

Minister Usamate has revealed that the Ministry aims to cover the maximum number of people as it works to eliminate Lymphatic filarisis from the country by 2020, as the WHO has proposed.

“The MDA target this year is to treat more than 80%, if not all, of eligible individuals who reside in communities that fall under the Eastern Division of the Ministry, namely the population in all communities in Lau (Vanuabalavu and Lakeba Subdivisions), Kadavu, Lomaiviti, and Rotuma”, said Mr Usamate.

Mr Usamate thanked the WHO, the Global Alliance for the Elimination of LF, JICA and Glaxo-Smith Kline for their cooperation in the ministry efforts to eliminate LF from the country and also requested support in the future.

Improving the financing of health service delivery

A study on Sustainable Healthcare Financing in Fiji and Timor Leste (SHIFT) that looked at improving the finances of health service delivery was conducted recently.

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The SHIFT study findings were launched by the Hon. Minister for Health & Medical Services Mr Jone Usamate at Holiday Inn.

The positive results of the study found that Fiji’s poor are getting a fair share of benefits from domestic government spending on healthcare. Fiji’s rich are contributing more of their income towards financing the health system which is good for equity.

The study measured the extent to which different socio-economic groups benefit from public subsidies for health through their use of health services and how the burden of financing the health system is distributed across socio-economic groups.

Mr Usamate said that the SHIFT report assessed the fairness of healthcare financing in Fiji and provides information on whether Fiji’s healthcare financing system is making progress towards “Health for All’.

“This report is very timely because it provides the Ministry with evidence on how we can further improve the financing of health service delivery to ensure that everyone in Fiji can freely access healthcare services without financial hardship”.

The aim of the SHIFT study was to assess equity in health financing in Fiji. The report seeks to inform about how fair the current health financing system is and where attention is needed for improvement. Fiji is seeking to deepen its commitment to equitable access to health care and make Universal Health Coverage (UHC) a reality.

Meanwhile, the study was conducted in collaboration with Fiji National University’s Centre for Health Information Systems and Policy (CHIPSR) and the Fiji Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MoHMS). It was funded by the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade through the Australian Development Research Awards (ADRAs) scheme.

 

 

Health advises on good nutrition

The Minister For Health and Medical services Mr Jone Usamate discusses a point with an agriculture official at the world Food Day celebrations in Kalabu

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“Make time for wellness or make time for illness” was the powerful message sent out to the children and the public at the World food day celebrations 2015 at Kalabu Primary School.

While launching the program The Minister for Health and Medical Services Mr Jone Usamate said that people must practice healthy living by having healthy diets for a longer life.

Mr Usamate added that while we need food to live, we must eat healthy foods as they contribute much to our healthy wellbeing.

“We need food to live our lives. Without food, we will die in a very short time. With the wrong food eaten, you will quickly get illnesses of NCD nature. It is very important then that we eat healthy meals of good nutritious value”.

While Fijians are urged to concentrate on their diets, the government through the MoHMS has pledged to address the issue by providing social protection in line with this year’s theme: “Social Protection and Agriculture: Breaking the Cycle of Rural Poverty’’.

Social protection includes many different things designed to address the vulnerability of people’s lives and livelihoods, for example:

  • Social insurance, offering protection against risk and adversity throughout life.
  • Social assistance, offering payments and in kind transfers to support and enable the poor.
  • Social inclusion efforts that enhance the capability of the marginalized to participate fully in economic and social life and to access social protection and other social services.

These social protection measures provide several opportunities for people to lead fruitful and productive lives and to emerge out of poverty.

It’s a fact of life that people who don’t eat well are not healthy and they do not have energy to work and remain poor or even get worse.

Mr Usamate also highlighted some of the government policies to provide social protection which is a strong priority of the government, such as provision of milk to children, the food voucher program, pension benefits for citizens over 70, etc.