Fiji’s government has announced an additional $15million to the Ministry of Health’s share of their 2013 budget.
The ministry’s total allocation comes to $167million.
These funds will allow the Ministry to cover operational costs and improve existing services, equipment, and infrastructure.
It will also ensure continuing professional development and training to the medical staff so they are kept abreast with current practices and procedures, and receive specialised training to further advance their knowledge.
The Govt has allocated $900,000 for the “In Service Training Program,” which provides continuing training for medical personnel. This will go towards covering the cost of both postgraduate studies and overseas placements for our health care workers. This program has already supported 12 officers, who are currently on attachment in India in the areas of cardiology, radiology and orthopaedics.
Bainimarama also announced the re-launch of the Community Health Worker Scheme to improve health services in remote areas with a funding of $120,000 set aside to ensure the scheme goes ahead. Through the scheme workers can be mobile and carry out basic procedures such as taking peoples’ blood pressure where there is no nursing centre.
The Community Health Worker Scheme is currently being piloted in the North before it is extended to other areas.
“We will also provide for the maintenance of our health facilities. We are building more community health centres and nursing centres and upgrading others,”Bainimarama said.
$4 million will be provided for major upgrades at health centres across the country, while $900,000 will be allocated for minor repairs.
Major capital works are planned for 2013, which include the extension of the Sigatoka Hospital. This will be funded jointly with hoteliers on the Coral Coast.
A new Health Centre will be constructed in Cuvu, Nadroga, and extension works will be undertaken at the Keiyasi Health Centre.
In addition, new nursing stations and staff quarters will be built in Nayavuira, Raviravi in Beqa, Lakeba, Tonia, Bagasau and Cikobia.
“We will continue to upgrade the standard of medical and non-medical equipment in our health facilities. This year we have allocated $6.9 million for this purpose.”
Bainimarama said there is a need to be smarter about how we maintain our expensive medical equipment, to reduce the number of breakdowns and to ensure that we get the most out of our investment.
“Our biomedical equipment will now be serviced by professionals, and $900,000 has been allocated for this purpose.
“We have budgeted $2 million to purchase vaccines that are essential for reducing child mortality, including those for Pneumococcal [New-ma-cock-al] Bacteria and Rotovirus.
“We have also allocated $800,000 to fund public awareness programs to reduce the prevalence of non-communicable diseases.”