Assistant Health Minister visits Yasawas.

Assistant Health Minister visits Yasawas.



The Hon. Assistant Minister for Health and Medical Services Mrs Veena Bhatnagar visited the Yasawa –i-rara nursing station last week to assess the provision of health services on the outer island.

The Health Ministry has plans to visit all health facilities around the country to gauge the health services provided and the issues affecting the provision of services.

Proving medical services on remote islands is very challenging and costly as the population is scattered with no roads, with health staff mostly reaching patients on foot.

Mrs Bhatnagar was informed by the staff nurse on the island of the difficulties staff faced to adequately serve these populations, such as travelling by boat to attend to emergencies, which becomes very expensive.

Madam Bhatnagar assured the staff that their grievances will be considered by the Ministry and the issues will definitely be addressed upon the availability of resources.

“I will look into the issues and will see that they are addressed as we do not want to deny people the best medical services available”, Mrs Bhatnagar said.

Madam Assistant Minister thanked the staff for the services rendered, despite the very challenging environment and hard-to-reach population.

Meanwhile, the Ministry will continue to visit the health facilities and address the increasing demand for medical services around the country.

Specialised Eye care treatment for Nadroga citizens.

Specialised Eye care treatment for Nadroga citizens.


More than 700 people in Nadroga have received specialised eye care treatment from the visiting Benevolent Mission International (BMI) medical team from Houston, Texas, USA.

The 18 member team has been visiting Fiji annually since 2003, and have provided treatment to approximately 50 people each visit.

The eye services range from cataract operations, pteryguin, to dispensing reading glasses and sunglasses. Each patient is treated according to their medical circumstances.

Marica Ratubuli, the eye nurse in charge of the Eye Clinic at Sigatoka Hospital, said that she identifies patients through eye outreach programmes and provides referrals to the visiting medical team.

“I normally visit the patients in my outreach programmes in the Nadroga/Navosa province, and make referrals to the visiting eye team”, said Ms Ratubuli.

This volunteer work by the visiting BMI team was applauded by the Hon. Assistant Minister for Health and Medical Services Mrs Veena Bhatnagar while visiting the team yesterday.

“I am very happy and thankful to all of you for the wonderful services you have been providing to our people, and the best part of it is the services are free”, Mrs Bhatnagar said.

“This had brought much relief to the financially burdened people who will now have their vision restored through your efforts”.

The team completed this year’s tour with the last 6 patients treated yesterday, and will fly out of the country on Sunday.





Maternal health remains one of the key priorities and is one of two strategic pillars which focuses on the delivery of health services in the National Strategic Plan 2016-2020.

This was highlighted by the Minister for Health and Medical Services Hon. Jone Usamate at the launch of the “Infection Prevention and Control in Maternity Units’ Training Manual” at CWMH in Suva today.

“Based on released World Health Organisation international data, there has been a 50 percent reduction in maternal deaths from preventable causes in 2015 compared to that in 1990” (63/100,000 in 1990 and 30/100, 000 in 2015), Minister Usamate said.

“There was also a decreasing trend at 5 year intervals during that 25 year period, however the reduction fell short of our expectations.”

Minister Usamate added that the Ministry aimed for a 75 percent reduction at least, and continued to focus on maternal health.

“Last year our maternal mortality rate was 44.4 per 100,000 births. The major causes of maternal deaths in Fiji; haemorrhage, sepsis and infection, hypertensive disorders and abortion with other causes”.

“We continue to put in place strategies to ensure that mothers receive quality care and prevent any maternal deaths, and we thank the Australian government through the Fiji Health Sector Support Program for supporting us in our efforts.”

Australian Minister for International Development and the Pacific Steven Ciobo commended the Fijian government for prioritising health care, in particular maternal health.

“This manual timely and the associated programs linked to it will make maternal services safer,” Minister Ciobo said.

The manual will be able to train doctors, nurses and midwifes to prevent and reduce infections in maternity facilities.