Category Archives: PRESS RELEASE

Locally-trained specialists deliver emergency care beyond the walls of the hospital

Emergency care at CWM Hospital is provided by a highly skilled team of expert doctors and nurses. They include specialists in emergency medicine – doctors who have completed a four-year Master’s degree in Emergency Medicine at the Fiji National University.
The FNU Masters programme was developed under the guidance of Dr Anne Creaton, an emergency physician from Australia. It is now run by Dr Dennis Lee, who trained in Emergency Medicine in Papua New Guinea with support by visiting specialists from Australia, New Zealand, UK and USA. The first six doctors graduated from the FNU Masters programme in 2016.
Emergencies don’t just happen in our capital city however so the team at CWM Hospital also offers support, advice and training for staff in smaller health facilities around the country. The following case, which took place recently, is not unusual and illustrates how effective teamwork can be.
Josaia (not his real name) is 56 years old. At home one evening he experienced chest pain. The pain gradually eased but in the middle of the night it suddenly got worse again. He felt his heart racing and he was sweating heavily. He rushed to Nausori Health and was assessed by the Medical Officer on duty who found he was critically unwell with a dangerously high heart rate and abnormal heartbeat.
The Medical Officer immediately called the Emergency Department at CWM Hospital for advice and was told that Josaia required cardioversion, a procedure where electrical energy is applied to the heart to return its rhythm to normal. The staff at Nausori were not expert at the procedure but Dr Deepak Sharma, the emergency medicine specialist at CWM Hospital was able to guide them through what was required. The staff at Nausori then explained the procedure to the Josaia and his wife and Dr Sharma remained on the phone to provide continuous support while it was carried out.
The procedure was a success and Josaia’s condition stabilised while he was at Nausori Health Centre. Dr Sharma then sent one of the emergency team to bring the patient back to CWM Hospital by ambulance but when he arrived it became apparent that he was having a heart attack. He was treated with a special clot busting drug after which his condition stabilised and he was admitted to the coronary care unit.
Josaia remains well and was able to leave hospital after a couple of days. His experience is a good illustration of how our locally-trained emergency medicine specialists, their colleagues in CWM Hospital and doctors and nurses elsewhere in the system are working together and using their skills to save lives every day.

Update on infection outbreak at Colonial War Memorial Hospital, Suva

On 21 June 2017, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (Ministry) alerted the public of four (4) deaths within the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Suva’s Colonial War Memorial Hospital (CWMH). As of 11 July, a further two (2) deaths have occurred within the NICU.

The NICU is a specialist unit which provides intensive care to ill or premature infants born at CWMH, the national referral hospital of Fiji. Many of the infants who are cared for in this unit suffer significant pre-existing illnesses such as compromised immune systems.
The presence of the multidrug resistant bacteria, Acinetobacter baumannii, was detected by CWMH laboratory services in samples obtained from NICU patients. This bacterium is commonly found in hospital settings and hospital patients around the world. Whilst the bacterium poses very little risk to healthy people, it can be a significant health risk to those with compromised immune systems.
A similar outbreak of this bacterium occurred within the NICU at CWMH between December 2016 and March 2017.

The Ministry and WHO are working together closely with CWMH’s clinicians and Infection Prevention and Control team to respond to this current outbreak and ensure the safety of the hospital’s most vulnerable patients.

As part of the immediate response, CWMH has increased surveillance in the hospital to support early response to new cases of infection; enhanced screening and infection precautions of all new admissions to the hospital and the NICU; and intensified its infection prevention and control measures.

A specialist team has also been deployed by WHO to Fiji to work with CWMH to try and identify a source of the bacteria, in addition to reviewing current infection prevention and control practices within CWMH and, as a further preventive measure, also examine practices in Lautoka and Lambasa hospitals. Based upon their findings, this team will be providing recommendations for ensuring that the hospitals’ current processes are appropriate, and adequate systems are in place to ensure the delivery of quality clinical care and patient safety.

Whilst a common source of the bacteria has not been found, this is not unusual as sources are only identified in 50% of all outbreaks reported globally. As sustained elimination of multidrug resistant bacteria in hospitals is extremely difficult, enhanced prevention, surveillance and early intervention measures are critical to preventing the infection of individual patients and consequent outbreaks.

The Ministry and WHO will continue to provide updates to the public on this issue.

New Navua Hospital Kitchen Starts Operating


Monday 24th April 2017

Statement No: 137











New Navua Hospital Kitchen Starts Operating 

In the quest to enhance the services at the new Navua Hospital, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services had promptly undertaken all the required work to get the kitchen up and running. During the parliamentary session in February this year, the Minister for Health and Medical Services, Hon. Rosy Akbar had emphasised on the Ministry’s commitment to have the new Navua Hospital Kitchen fully operational by April 2017.  As such the work has been completed and the kitchen has been in use, providing locally-prepared meals for patients, as of last week.

Minister Akbar took a tour of the new Navua Hospital and also inspected the operations at the kitchen that has been renovated with cost of $42,000. Minister Akbar said the renovations has been completed through a close collaboration between the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, the Construction Implementation Unit of the Ministry of Economy and the Prime Minister’s Office.

“I am also pleased to be able to report that further preparatory works to improve plumbing, landscaping and drainage are under way and should be completed by July this year. The Fijian Government remains committed to developing a healthy Fiji and as such nothing is more important to the Government than improving the health care facilities and services for people throughout the country.  

This new Navua hospital has helped to improve the lives of the people of Navua by giving them access to an enhanced health facility that, unlike its predecessor, is no longer subject to the whims of Mother Nature. Of course, building and equipment are only a part of what underpins a well-functioning health system and the Ministry is also committed to better levels of compassion, empathy and sensitivity shown by our caregivers.

“I can assure the Fijian people that is also one of my Ministry’s top priorities. Whenever a patient visits a hospital or clinic they should feel like the doctors and nurses are fully vested in their health and recovery. Nothing less in acceptable,” Minister Akbar explained.

The Health Minister also revealed the upcoming plans for the new Navua Hospital to establish a training centre for emergency medicine for all the staff in the public health facilities. This is pursed through the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the Ministry of Health and Medical Services and the Guangdong Health and Family Planning Commission, People’s Republic of China in 2015.  The delegation from the People’s Republic of China recently visited the Navua Hospital to further explore the potential of establishing the Fiji Guangdong Medical Training Centre.