Party highlights plans

A Navesau Adventist High School Year 12 student gets vaccinated at the school in Wainibuka. Picture: JONA KONATACI

A Navesau Adventist High School Year 12 student gets vaccinated at the school in Wainibuka. Picture: JONA KONATACI

Reviews and reforms recommended for the health sector conducted in past decades still remain valid today.

Fiji’s Health Accounts (FHA) 2011-2014 quotes that health expenditures over the four years increased in nominal terms by 34.7 per cent and by real terms by 53.6 per cent.

Unity Fiji is concerned, however, that in spite of this increased spending, the desired health outcomes, as evidenced, are not being reached. (Current FHA could not be accessed).

Weak health systems are an obstacle to achieving the maximum health benefit possible from the resources available. This includes under-funding, lack of co-ordination, inefficient management, lack of human resources of sufficient quality and quantity, inaccessibility to appropriate technologies, and inadequate information for decision making.

One of the major challenges currently faced is the provision of service to a population that is scattered over many islands.

Additionally, the need to meet increasing demands for health care for a rapidly urbanising population. There is an urgent need to expand the objectives of the health system from coverage of services to quality of care, a goal that Unity Fiji would strive towards.

The government is responsible for the construction, management and maintenance of all health infrastructures in the public sector.

Many buildings were built long ago and are in dilapidated conditions with upgrading being inconsistent. Funding from foreign governments has been a significant component of capital expenditure in the health sector over the past decades. Unity Fiji party would undertake a phased implementation plan to upgrade existing buildings and at the same time making provisions to upgrade and strengthen sub-divisional hospitals to ease the burden on the main hospitals.

Previously there were efforts to decentralise management of the health system and to build management capacity.

Political instability brought the changes to an end, and many of the decentralisation reforms were reversed.

Unity Fiji would ensure that further reforms of the health sector are carried out. Two areas that are of particular priority are to produce, distribute and retain human resources across all groups of health professionals focussing on sufficient quality and quantity.

Currently there is insufficient number of health professionals, including specialists, worsened by emigration, which is a major challenge. Secondly, long-term reform of the health financing system is needed to ensure that health funding remains adequate and sustainable.

Primary health care model has been the foundation for Fiji’s health system. Evidence suggests, however, that this approach is not yet reversing the trends in risk factors and chronic disease incidence. There is a need for the health system to adapt given the increased urbanisation and changing lifestyles, etc. Unity Fiji will work towards a health system that continuously adapts to new circumstances in order to ensure that it meets the increasing pressures and needs of the population.