Medical facility boost

THE $30 million Ba Hospital will be equipped by the Indian Government.

This was revealed by Minister for Economy and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum in Parliament yesterday while providing an explanation into the operations of a proposed public private partnership for the Lautoka and Ba hospitals.

He said Government wanted to provide a high quality medical facility that could house high-tech equipment provided by its Indian counterpart.

He said in his visit to Fiji (in 2014), Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had envisioned Fiji being a medical hub for the region. “Modi believes that Fiji can become a regional medical hub for the Pacific because we are geographically and strategically located within the hub and therefore he wants to be able to provide a particular level of equipment to Fiji not only to provide a service to Fijians but also to Pacific Islanders,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“So we have grabbed that opportunity and we are looking at bringing in these international certified hospitals, partnering with FNPF to provide that concession.

“We have used IFC (International Finance Corporation) which has done similar private public partnerships and we have actually called for expressions of interests and we hope that the final identification of that partner will be done by early May.

“Once that is done, the announcement is made then we’ll be able to have that hub provided for Lautoka and Ba.

“We will then be able to use the Indian Government’s undertaking that was provided to us with equipment.”

He said Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s current visit to India would include bilateral discussions on the project.

The Attorney-General said Ba would be a feeder hospital as it catered for the north west of Viti Levu.

“It is a modern hospital and it is yet to be equipped because we are waiting for this deal to be done, but it is being done in a very sophisticated and hospital friendly manner.” He said one of the key architects behind the design of Ba Hospital had previously worked on the Starship Hospital in Auckland, New Zealand.

“Before we had government architects designing hospitals and they did not know anything about hospitals per say. We need experts who know how a hospital needs to be designed.”