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Medicine shortage

Luke Rawalai
Tuesday, February 05, 2013

MOVEMENT of people within our borders have affected the supply of medicine in some areas as the Health Ministry tries to balance the population of certain areas with the appropriate volume of medical supplies.

Health Minister Doctor Neil Sharma said medicine shortage could be expected as the ministry redirected supply to health facilities in densely populated areas.

"Take areas like Fulaga in the Lau Group, cane belt areas in Vanua Levu and other islands where the whole population have moved to mostly urban areas for better chances of living conditions where we have had to reduce our supply of medicines to tailor fit the need from the areas," he said.

"This does not mean that we are prioritising areas as all communities are the priority of the ministry but these are some factors that affect the supply of medical supplies to our communities, including others like transportation problems and other issues.

"However, we are moving stocks around to meet the needs of people in every location."

Dr Sharma said they were stockpiling medicines in strategic locations at sub-divisional hospitals from where medicine would be issued as per the need of health centres.

Responding to queries about the lack of anaesthetists in hospitals around the country, Dr Sharma said "there are enough anaesthesia doctors in all major hospitals around the country to meet the need from the ground".

"There has always been a shortage of doctors and this will remain a problem since the doctors that we continue to train are robbed by overseas countries," he said.

"We have a system in place where we are training our doctors in undergraduate level before proceeding to their postgraduate level.

"Doctors then spend a year overseas for exposure before they return to Fiji and the number of doctors opting to serve in Fiji are slowly increasing," he added.





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