Budget boosts health services to new level

Jyoti Pratibha

Health facilities will continue to improve with allocation of F$ 60.5 million for capital development in Budget 2018, Health and Medical Services Minister Rosy Akbar has said.

Among the highlights of the budget allocations for the health sector are a) F$ 11 million towards the extension of the new Colonial War Memorial Hospital Maternity Ward, the first of its kind dedicated to women in Fiji (b) F$ 11 million for construction of the Navosa Sub-Divisional Hospital to serve more than 10,000 Fijians in the Nadroga-Navosa Province (c) F$ 1 million for construction of a new Health Centre in Lodoni to ensure high quality health services (d) F$ 500,000 for extension of the Korovou Hospital (e) F$ 3 million to upgrade the operating theatre and X-Ray capabilities at Lautoka Hospital and (f) F$ 2.5 million to upgrade the Valelevu Health Centre to a Sub-Divisional Hospital.

Ms Akbar said that the new Ba Hospital, which has state-of-the-art facilities, has been completed with F$ 34 million provided by the government.

“It is expected to be handed over by end of the month, she told Parliament while speaking on Budget 2018. The New Nakasi Health Centre, a level A facility, has had government funding of F$ 4.1 million. The Centre is expected to be opened by fourth quarter this year. It will provide medical services to the greater Nakasi area and will ease the load from the Valelevu and Nausori health centres,” she said.

The third project in progress is the extension of the Colonial War Memorial Hospital Emergency Department, creating more bed space for one of the busiest emergency units in the country.

Benefits to people

“It will boost the Hospital’s capabilities to attend to emergency cases in an efficient way.  A total of F$ 250,000 has been invested into much-needed extension services. These new developments will benefit all Fijians to have access to modernised, state-of-the-art health facilities. It will enable the Ministry to intensify its reach out in terms of delivering efficient and quality health services in Fiji that every Fijian family truly deserves,” Ms Akbar said.

Community Health Workers

Community Health Workers are among the major recipients of assistance in this Budget.

“It is indeed a historic recognition that for the first time in 40 years of their existence, the network of Community Health Workers are now recognised. Never before did we see such recognition given to the community health workers,” Ms Akbar said.

The new allocation of F$ 4.6 million will go towards increasing the allowances for 1800 community health workers in Fiji from the previous F$ 50 per month to F$ 200 per month.

“The allocation will strengthen collaboration between Community Health Workers and the Ministry to coordinate capacity building and training opportunities. They will be equipped with basic medication and equipment that will enhance their role to improve the services to their communities,” she said.

Allocation has also been made for people living with Albinism to be able to purchase sunscreen, a necessity for them and a first in Fiji.

The above story (edited by us) has been published here under a Special Agreement with Fiji Sun.

Photo Caption: Health & Medical Services Minister Rosy Akbar (From Wikipedia)

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