Bula vinaka and a very good morning to you all!
 I am delighted to be here this morning to officiate in the opening of this Biomedical Engineering Workshop and I thank the organizing committee for the invitation.
 I also take this opportunity on behalf of the Government and the Ministry to welcome all participants that have travelled all the way from the Northern, Western & those from within the Central Division and I hope that you will enjoy the company of your fellow colleagues
 The timing of this workshop is just right considering the demanding need for improvement in our service delivery, patient care, and it is important for you to note that the Ministry is undergoing valuable structural adjustments with its processes as we aspire to inculcate the objectives of Universal Health Coverage as a strategy to improve the quality of life and increase longevity for all Fijians.
 Ladies and gentlemen, the Biomedical profession has evolved over the years since the initial set up in 1989 through the Australian Staffing Assistance Scheme. It started with 5 staff but now we have a total of 29 staff operating in the 3 major Hospitals in Suva, Lautoka and Labasa and I am here to tell you that the Government recognizes and values your contribution towards our health sector. This show of commitment by the Government has seen the creation of an additional 8 new positions in 2018.
 The Biomedical unit plays a pivotal role in patient care, by ensuring the availability of equipment’s and overseeing its proper maintenance. The inventory of the equipment for Fiji’s health care system has vastly increased over the years and now sits at 7,159 in 2019 and the Government of the day continues to commit and invest through the budgetary provisions such as the increase in the spare parts allocation from $500,000 in 2017 to $1.5million in 2019. In addition, there is also the budget provision of $5.5m provided for the purchasing of equipment.
 Moreover, there is a growing demand for new technology to improve patient care, and the Government is keen to audit and remove aging equipment and furnish our health care facilities with new state of the art equipment in the next 5 years. Examples are the MRI Scan at CWM hospital, the PAC system, Dialysis and Laboratory Equipment, etc.
 Most equipment nowadays are highly complex and technologies are ever evolving, therefore it demands a high level of knowledge and skills to provide precise designs, standards, and environmental condition for proper functioning, at the same time considering the intricate logistics and lowering overall cost.
 Having said that, I strongly believe that the Ministry though the Biomedical unit can pursue better outcomes to improve our service delivery if we work in a smart and effective manner. I am told that the Biomedical profession now has a very dynamic workforce and I believe in each and every one of you to raise the bar in terms of service delivery. The future of this profession is in your hands now and you must endure to maintain the professionalism and integrity of your profession and our Ministry.
 On that note, I wish to acknowledge and thank you all for your continuous effort and for taking extra steps in ensuring that equipment’s are repaired and service restored for the betterment in the delivering of our health care services.
 Ladies and gentlemen, the exchange of experiences and ideas in today’s workshop is very important in achieving the desired goals of this workshop. I trust that you will have healthy deliberations and that you will identify innovative ways to accelerate our aspirations of achieving the objectives of UHC.
 Once again, thank you for the invitation and may you all have a pleasant weekend.

Vinaka vakalevu

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