Editorial comment – Raising standards

The condition of the CWM hospital bathroom. Picture: Picture: Judy Compain (Facebook)

The revelation that our public health system is not as it should be, should inch out concern.

In fact we should be concerned as a nation.

Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka said Fiji’s public health system was “plagued” with crumbling infrastructure and overworked staff.

He said this during an event at the Sai Sanjeevani Children’s Hospital in Suva marking the Prema Foundation’s more than 100 successful heart surgeries.

The PM’s remarks came in the wake of comments attributed to Health Minister Dr Atonio Lalabalavu earlier this week, suggesting that most health facilities were in dire need of renovations.

“As many of you know, on its own, the people’s coalition Government would not be able to cure all that had gone wrong in this country,” Mr Rabuka said.

“Our health system, the state of its infrastructure, the equipment and medicine needed, as well as lifting the working conditions and incentives of our doctors, nurses and health workers require urgent life-saving interventions.”

He said this while commending the foundation for its vision in establishing the $25 million state-of-the-art facility to provide free services to the public.

This, Mr Rabuka said, helped complement the existing health system in Fiji.

“This is why the work of philanthropists like the Tappoo family is welcomed. It is the kind of partnership the coalition Government will encourage,” he said.

Our public health system, Mr Rabuka noted, was plagued by crumbling infrastructure and resource limitations together with an overworked and under-compensated workforce.

Dr Lalabalavu highlighted the state of our health system during his recent tour of facilities around the country, noting an area of priority would be the upkeep of medical infrastructure.

“From what I have seen, most of the infrastructure is in dire need of renovations, up-keeping and maintenance,” Dr Lalabalavu said this week.

Some were “good and well maintained” though, he admitted.

“We should prioritise the up-keeping of health facilities because our staff are going there to work and live in those facilities.

“So it should be liveable and a workable environment for them to be able to facilitate their work in terms of delivering health care.”

In the face of all these revelations, we acknowledge the efforts of our health care workers who continue to turn up to work when they are rostered.

We acknowledge their commitment, and their dedication.

What matters in the end is how well we can look after them, and accommodate their needs.

We will hope this would then translate to service delivery, and subsequently the health of the nation, and the economy.

We also acknowledge the effort now going into identifying challenges, and putting in place measures and contingencies to upgrade our facilities and systems, resources and the human factor.

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