FIJI needs more qualified general practitioners, says Dr Ram Raju, the western branch president of the Fiji College of General Practitioners.
He made the comment at the signing of an agreement between the Umanand Prasad School of Medicine, the University of Fiji and the Fiji College of General Practitioners.
The agreement allows for the start of a postgraduate certificate program in general practice, which Dr Raju said was a historic development.
"For about a year, we were having negotiations and I'm glad that we have finally reached an agreement in time," he said.
"It is a significant milestone and we are now able to embark on a golden education process in this country and I must thank UPSM and University of Fiji in particular for making this happen.
"We have managed to come to this stage and while it may be the first step, a lot of work needs to be done.
"We have invested in the department of medicine and we have had discussions with the dean of the medical school and we are involved in trying to get this program off the ground."
Dr Raju said general practitioners were the frontliners in the provision of primary and preventative medicine to the community.
"Fiji as whole will benefit once we have more qualified general practitioners to continue to provide quality medical care," he said.
Departing vice-chancellor Dr Chandra Dulare said he was quite happy that the university had come on board along with UPSM.
"We now want to ensure that this program comes to fruition and we are happy to say that we can start this program from this year," Dr Dulare said.