HEALTH Minister Dr Neil Sharma has applauded plans by the Friendly North Festival committee to set up a dialysis centre in Labasa.
Speaking at the festival on Saturday night, Dr Sharma said the centre would bring a sigh of relief for patients in the North.
"We are aware of how patients have to incur high expenses to travel to Suva for medical treatment at the kidney dialysis centre. I am delighted to see that people are taking initiatives to assist the ministry in setting up health facilities," he said.
"We are now moving away from illness to wellness and people need to take time out to do physical activities, eat the right type and amount of food and have green vegetables in your meals."
Dr Sharma said the festival committee also provided an excellent opportunity to people to come together and enjoy a week-long of fun and activities.
"The festival also showcases its theme and this year it is 'Healthy Living: Healthy North', and it promotes the importance of having a good health in order to live a good social and economical life," he said.
"More than 800 people in Fiji lose their legs due to diabetics amputation each year and people as young as 28-year olds are dying of heart attack. This is indeed shocking. Many heart complications are brought to our hospitals and these are due to consuming too much sugar and fats that cause high blood pressure."