Category Archives: PRESS RELEASE

Health: Commitment to improve health facilities

The Hon. Minister for Health & Medical Services Mr Jone Usamate visited the Nasau Health Center and Tokaimalo Nursing Station in Ra to identify areas that need improvement.

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During the visits Mr Usamate was updated on issues such as, transportation, water supply, access to health facilities, medicine supplies, and health facilities/staff quarters requiring renovations.

“These visits are necessary to ensure that health facilities are providing efficient services to our people. At the same time it also gives us an opportunity to discuss issues of concern with these health staff and to gauge whether these facilities are in need of essential items, renovations or other general matters”, said Mr Usamate.

Mr Usamate noted that transportation, access to health facilities, and safe water supply is a concern in this area.

For instance, villages around Nasau Health Center and Tokaimalo Nursing Station are facing difficulties with proper and safe water supply. In the meantime, the Health Ministry has supplied some water filters to villages in its attempt to address water borne illnesses. This issue has also been in discussion with the Water Authority of Fiji.

Apart from this, there are future plans to relocate Tokaimalo Nursing Station closer to where the villages are. Currently, a river has to be crossed to reach the Nursing Station which cannot be accessed should it be flooded. This proposed relocation of the nursing station is scheduled for 2017.

“These health facilities are serving our people in the interiors of Ra and I must commend the work done so far by our health staff. I have heard from our staff posted at these two facilities how much effort they put in especially when it comes to reaching out to villages and communities”, Mr Usamate said.

Meanwhile, Nasau Heath Center caters for a population of 2061 people comprising of 10 villages while Tokaimalo Nursing Station caters for 1195 people comprising of 8 villages and 4 settlements.

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.