OUT of the total number of patients admitted at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital intensive care unit per month 80 per cent to 95 per cent died prior to March last year. CWMH ICU head Dr Vereniki Raiwalui said in a month - an average of 35 patients were admitted to ICU including some long term patients, who were recovering.
Minister for Health Dr Neil Sharma said the mortality rate had since decreased to 42 per cent.
As a result Fiji's largest hospital, the CWMH and the major referral centre for patients, are now saving the lives of more people in the country.
Dr Sharma said, before approximately 94 per cent of the people didn't make it while at the ICU but now about 66 per cent are surviving the ordeal.
He said the decline in the mortality rate at the ICU at CWMH was a result of constant improvements and new approaches taken by his ministry.
"We now have better people working, better equipment and better infrastructure that has led to the decline in mortality rates," Dr Sharma said.
Dr Raiwalui explained how the mortality rate was measured.
He said there were eight beds in the ICU and the mortality rate depended on the number of patients in the unit.
"We take the number of patients that come into ICU and the patients that die for the same month and get the rate from there," he said.
"Measure that against the rate in Australia and NZ for the same month."
Dr Sharma said there were a lot of variables that the ministry had removed and critical cares at all hospitals are now effective.
"There are more specialised equipment and comprehensive training provided to hospital staff," he said.
The ministry is also working at improving the bedding capacity at ICU so that more people are treated.
"Suva has six beds whereas the capacity is eight. So we are working to increase the capacity," he said.
Dr Raiwalui said some of the reasons for the decrease in mortality rate included the fact that ICU was no longer a semi-open unit.
"I run a closed unit,I run the management of the unit and its patients.
"There used to be more complications and no particular training for the person doing ICU.
"Also intensive care medication is totally different - it's deeper. Now that we have intensive care medication coming into the country we can also facilitate bigger surgeries."
Dr Raiwalui was hopeful that by next year the first program in intensive care would begin at the Fiji National University.