Editorial comment – Health care system

Minister for Health Dr Atonio Lalabalavu. Picture: SUPPLIED

It is encouraging to note that attention is now focused on our health service. Health Minister Dr Atonio Lalabalavu said any help extended by the community and private sector would be welcomed with open arms.

He spoke about assistance and health care delivery.

There was a need for a co-ordinated effort, he said, in terms of the help that could be given and how it could be directed to various areas within the ministry.

It has been a while, he said, since the Colonial War Memorial Hospital (CWMH) board of visitors had discussions with the minister for instance.

“The renovations at the maternity ward, even though it was budgeted for in the last financial year, it has a board in front of the hospital car park, but still nothing to show for it.

“There are some structural issues, in how those structural issues are affecting the repairing of the facilities itself. If that could be taken care of first, then work can proceed.”

With so much talk hovering on the health system in Fiji, especially at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, it is good to see attention switched on to the process of upgrade work.

In saying that it was encouraging to note that local company Fiji Chemicals Ltd has offered to conduct a deep clean of washrooms at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital’s Maternity Ward.

Fiji Chemicals Ltd managing director Darran Bentley-Fisher said he was alerted to the issue by International Women’s Association (IWA) president Judy Compain’s social media post showing the state of the washrooms.

“We did not only look at the women’s maternity bathroom but the children’s ward as well and it should not be in the state as it is.

“So we are happy to help and make sure the women, children and people who are using it are using hygienically cleaned facilities which they aren’t at the moment. I could do a bacterial test at the bathrooms and guarantee you they would not be hygienically clean.”

That statement is a sad indictment of the state of parts of our health system. So any effort to assist in improving it will be welcomed.

Let’s face it, health care can contribute significantly to a country’s economy and development. But that’s when it is efficient!

There is a connection as well to the improved health of a nation, which subsequently would support a nation’s economic aspirations.

Fijians will look up to the powers that be to drive change and set the base for confidence in our health care system.

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