All posts by Sunil Chandra

World Tuberculosis Day [24 March 2019]

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services will officially commemorate World Tuberculosis Day this year on Friday 22nd March.

Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease that is caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis that mainly affects the lungs of infected individuals but can also affect other vital organs in the body. In 2016, WHO’s estimated Global incidence and mortality rate for TB was respectively, 10.4 million and 1.3 million persons. In Fiji, the 2017 data on TB published by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services indicated that, 49 out of every 100,000 Fijians had TB and about 4 of those infected succumbed to the disease.

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services is committed to achieving the 2035 global End-TB program targets of reducing TB incidence and deaths by 90% and 95% respectively, and ceasing the high costs associated with the disease.

Acting Medical superintendent, Tamavua Twomey Hospital  Dr Mike Kama highlighted that TB can be easily spread if not managed properly.

“TB is usually spread when a TB infected person coughs or sneezes and releases tiny infectious droplets that remain suspended in air for several hours, and is subsequently inhaled by an uninfected individual”, he said.

“The risks of airborne transmission of TB is highest in environments that are overcrowded and poorly ventilated. People with pre-existing HIV and/or diabetes mellitus conditions are at higher risk of developing TB”.

Transmission of TB through ingestion of contaminated cow’s milk has largely been reduced by pasteurization of milk.

The symptoms of TB include coughing for over 2 weeks, fever, night sweats, weight loss and coughing out blood. TB is diagnosed by having a chest X-Ray and a sputum sample tested for the presence of the bacteria.

Dr Sam Fullman, also from the National TB Program reminds people that TB treatment is readily available at health facilities around the country.

“These diagnostic and treatment services for TB are free of charge and directly accessible at any of the major government hospitals around the country and also through the TB referral networks available at nursing stations and health centers”, Dr Fullman said.

The spread of TB can be prevented by practicing good cough etiquette, ensuring that homes are well ventilated and not overcrowded, and regularly sunning out the beddings.

The World TB Day commemoration intends to create and escalate public awareness on TB and reflect on the perpetual colossal efforts of controlling the disease.

Meanwhile The Ministry of Health & Medical Services will be commemorating the event in 20 different locations countrywide. The day will focus on the theme “Its Time….to end TB in my generation”, and will include oratory contests and poster competitions in designated schools, and awareness sessions followed by TB screening for the general public in selected communities.

For further information contact the National TB Programme as follows:

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Health Minister Dr Waqainabete opens new water project in Naitasiri.

The Minister for Health and Medical Services Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete officially opened the new water project at the Nabaitavo village in Naitasiri last Saturday which has brought much relief to the villages to access safe and clean water.

This project was initiated as the people in the Nabaitavo village were exposed to the outbreak of typhoid disease few weeks ago and the need for the installation of water tanks and water seal toilets for the village became inevitable.

The joint effort between the community and Central Division health team of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services together with Ministry of Rural Development and the Itaukei Affairs has been instrumental as the disease has been contained and the risk of further emergence of the disease in minimized.

Hon. Waqainabete while conveying his appreciation to the villages for their hard work, also welcomed the commitment of the health officials who have worked tirelessly for the timely completion of the much needed water accessibility to maintain proper hygiene and sanitation in the village.

“This is great contribution from the community and I am proud of the health officials for being available during the festive season to successfully complete the project”, Dr Waqainabete said.

Typhoid is a water borne disease therefore access to safe and clean water should remain priority for the people and the Health Ministry will make every effort with its development partners to address such issues.

Furthermore Minister Waqainabete during the Talanoa Session advised the villagers to prioritise and practice healthy lifestyle behaviors that will eventually reduce the burden of diseases and patients should visit the health facilities early to allow immediate diagnosis and treatment which will reduce the complications and the negative impact of the diseases.


Health Ministry will further strengthen health services.


New strategies to deliver improved and efficient health services to all Fijians must be implemented and as such appropriate planning needs to be adopted.
This was the challenge laid down by the Minister for Health and Medical Services Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete while addressing the Senior Managers of the Ministry at Holiday Inn.
He further said that health services continues to demand for innovative ideas to address patient needs therefore a vibrant and robust health system needs to be established to counter such calls.
“What we did in the past is okay, it worked but there is a call for change now and we need to change strategically to quickly capture the expectations of the society and deliver accordingly,” said Dr Waqainabete.
The two days meet is expected to assist and motivate Senior Managers to act on their vision (Leadership, Change, and Continuing Profession Development) to encourage and help them to see their weakness and overcome the obstacles to pursue the Ministry’s vision of “A health population”.
One of the other issues raised was the call for professional development to ensure the staff is competent in their profession.
This will enhance their knowledge and continue to make meaningful contribution to the team to be more effective in the workplace.