Category Archives: PRESS RELEASE

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.





From Left: Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director General and Hon Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete, Minister for Health and Medical Services



GENEVA, SWITZERLAND 34 technically qualified members of the WHO Executive Board is Meeting for its 144th Session on Thursday 24 January 2019. The two weeks meeting will consider a wide range of health issues including the WHO Operation Budget, Global Health Issues and the Implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Fiji is the only Pacific Island Country represented in the Executive Board which provides further leverage for the country to enhance our voice at the global platform.

In his opening remarks following the Director General’s opening remarks, Fiji’s Head of Delegation, the Hon Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete, Minister for Health and Medical Services congratulated Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus for his leadership and achievements in particular on addressing the Non Communicable Disease (NCD), Nexus between Climate Change and Health and Health Reforms which is a priority for the Pacific. Further he reiterated the need for the Pacific Island Countries health personnel to be equipped with skills and knowledge to enhance their capability to battle this issue thus called on the DG to strengthen WHO’s internship Programme for Pacific countries.

Fiji congratulates the DG and the secretariat in its efforts to enhance the fight against NCDs which is a major challenge in our region in the Pacific and is speaking on behalf of the Pacific Island Countries. 

We would like to call on the DG to maintain the effort on strengthening the internship programme for our young and vibrant health work force. In this regard, Fiji aligns itself to the proposed resolution (A71/B/CONF./1) on Reform of the Global internship programme discussed at the 71st World Health Assembly. We wish to inform that building the capacity of our future leaders in our respective countries and the current reforms on the internship programme, specifically the assistance and support to developing islands nations internship programmes improves equity in knowledge capability and enhances better interaction and access to WHO and its initiatives.

Climate change and health nexus is a major concern and the Pacific is a testimony of this emerging dilemma.

The Hon Dr Waqainabete is accompanied by Dr Eric Rafai and had the opportunity on the margins of the Executive Board Meeting to meet with  Senior Executives of WHO including the former and the new WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific.

Fiji is represented in the Executive Board for the first time in the five (5) Western Pacific seat in addition to Australia, China, Japan and Vietnam. This is also Fiji and Vietnam’s third and final year in the Executive Board for its three year term and two new candidates for the Western Pacific is expected to be named for the next cycle.

The annual Board meeting is held annually in January where the members agree on the agenda for the World Health Assembly in May and the resolutions to be considered by the Health Assembly. The main functions of the Board are to implement the decisions and policies of the Health Assembly and facilitate its work.

The Board meeting will close on Friday 1 February 2019.

28-01-19 MEDIA STATEMENT: Leptospirosis Outbreak in the Central Division

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services has declared an outbreak of leptospirosis for the Central Division. There have been 69 cases of leptospirosis in Central Division from January 1st this year, with 18 people requiring admission to the CWM Hospital. The majority of cases have been in the 1-19 and 20-29 age groups. There have been 4 deaths from leptospirosis in the Central Division so far in 2019.

Leptospirosis is a disease caused by bacteria that affects both humans and animals. Humans get leptospirosis through contact with the urine of infected animals. This often happens through contact with mud, water, or food contaminated with the urine of infected animals. People who work with animals (e.g. farmers) are at higher risk of getting this disease, however the current outbreak in the Central Division is also affecting people who do non-animal related work. Recent heavy rains and flooding are likely to have contributed to the increase in cases in the Central Division.

Animals that may spread the disease through their infected urine include; rats, dogs, cats, cattle, pigs, horses and mongooses.

The symptoms of leptospirosis include:

  • High fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches – commonly around the calves (backs of lower legs) and lower back
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Jaundice (yellow skin and/or eyes)
  • Red eyes
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Diarrhoea
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rash

Please visit the nearest healthcare facility if you have symptoms of this disease

Without treatment, leptospirosis can lead to kidney damage, meningitis (inflammation of the membrane around the brain and spinal cord), liver failure, respiratory distress, and even death. Early treatment with antibiotics administered by a doctor is key to preventing complications and deaths.


You can prevent getting leptospirosis by avoiding contact with the urine of infected animals. This includes:

  • Avoiding wading/swimming in waters that may be contaminated with animal urine, especially flood waters
  • Wearing protective clothing and footwear when working with livestock
  • Separating households from livestock e.g. through the use of fences/pens
  • Regular household cleaning
  • Getting rid of rats in the household
  • Keeping your food and eating/cooking utensils away from rats and pets
  • Washing fruits and vegetables

What is the Ministry doing?

Medical Officers in the Central Division have been alerted to the outbreak of leptospirosis in order to encourage early recognition, treatment, and referral of cases as required. Fiji’s Leptospirosis Clinical Guidelines have been redistributed to all medical officers in the Central Division, and refresher training on the guidelines has been organised. The Central Division and Subdivisional Outbreak Response Teams, including our Environmental Health Officers, have been working closely with the Ministry’s Centre for Communicable Disease Control to conduct investigations and public health awareness and interventions involving household inspections in the community. The public have also been advised through mass media advertisements on the prevention of leptospirosis.


For more information please visit your nearest healthcare facility or the ‘My Health Section’ on the Ministry of Health and Medical Services website