Category Archives: PRESS RELEASE

Health Minister Recommends Independent Research Ethics Committee


 Media release

Health Minister Recommends Independent Research Ethics Committee.

Participants at the Fiji National Human Research Ethics meeting.

Health Minister Dr Iferemi Waqainabete says that researchers will be more credible if it is been reviewed by an independent research review and ethics committee.

This was revealed at the National Consultation on Governance for the National Human Research Ethics in Fiji.

He also called on the participants to conjointly devise a new system of Human Research Ethics Review that is adaptable, efficient and effective.

“It is equally important that the Research Ethics Committee exists under a national policy or legislative framework that has an appropriate and sustainable system to monitor the quality and effectiveness of research ethics review with prescribed guidelines and standards” , Dr Waqainabete said.

He further said that the establishment of an ethics guidelines should help promote the ethical conduct of research and protect the rights and well-being of research participants and communities.

Participants will deliberate for the next two days to formulate the proposed new ethics guidelines which will govern and provide a new dimension on human research.

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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Minister Waqainabete at the Waidracia village


Twelve families in the Waidracia village in the Naitasiri Province recently benefitted from the Government’s assistance to acquire water seal toilets.

This follows quick action by the Ministry of Health following the discovery of typhoid cases in the village.

The completion of the project is a milestone achievement in raising the sanitation standard of the village and is anticipated to significantly reduce the risk of the transmission of communicable diseases.

Health Minister Dr. Ifereimi Waqainabete while visiting the village last Friday acknowledged and thanked the villages for working collaboratively in the construction of the water seal toilets.

“I would like to thank the village for working together with the Ministry in successfully implementing the project”, Minister Waqainabete said.

“I would also like to acknowledge the support of the Naitasiri Provincial Office and the office of the Provincial Administrator Naitasiri in assisting the Ministry combat the spread of typhoid fever in the village”.

One of the beneficiaries, Mr Jiuta Ranubu expressed his appreciation to the Health Ministry for the timely support as they now have access to better sanitation.

“I am very happy that I was one of the recipients of this initiative and I am really thankful to the Ministry”, Mr Ranubu said.

Meanwhile the health inspectors from the Ministry are making regular visits to the villages and settlements.