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Ministry working on shortage issue

Sherita Sharma
Thursday, December 13, 2012

THE Ministry of Health is doing its best to improve medical services to Raiwaqa in Suva and other densely populated areas.

The ministry's response came after queries from this newspaper regarding public concerns on the shortage of doctors at the Raiwaqa Health Centre.

Health Ministry's acting permanent secretary Dr Josefa Koroivueta said there were many reasons for people going to the facility, not just physical illness but also outpatients, maternal and child health, integrated management of childhood illness, school health, dental, community outreach and immunisations.

"Raiwaqa Health Centre is one of the six satellite health facilities in the Suva subdivision in which the outpatient services in Colonial War Memorial Hospital was decentralised to," he said.

"There is no question that this is a densely populated area.

"There are usually three doctors and one nurse practitioner (NP) in Raiwaqa Health Centre. There would be one officer doing 6am-2pm, 2pm-10pm and two officers from 8am-4pm."

Dr Koroivueta said the fourth officer would be the one taking two days off (Thursday and Friday) during the week to cover on Saturday and Sunday and would also cover for anyone going on sick or any other leave.

He said an officer would attend to 50 to 150 patients daily.

"There are 5000 patients attended to per month which expresses an expansion of service through greater service delivery hours wherein the beneficiaries are greater compared to two to three years ago."

Dr Koroivueta said this excluded dental visits and MCH (maternal and child health).

He said the facility had been targeted for expansion to meet the needs of the population and have a modernised accident and emergency facility.

"It has evolved from an eight to four facility to one that runs seven days a week irrespective to public holidays or not."

He said it was all about bringing health care closer to where people live, work and play.

"The ministry is gearing to upskill its workforce in child health, maternity and emergency area.

"Each facility has its own Board of Visitors with new powers in the new decree that allows them to be a big player in health delivery and to support the health facilities.

"The key target is to move people to wellness and to live well through healthy practices of eating, thinking (mental), drinking, breathing, moving and reproduction.

"It is a robust paradigm to address totality of health from the womb to the tomb," he said.

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