Bid for slight increase

Assistant Minister for Health Alexander O'Connor (middle) shares a moment with journalists, from left, Mereseini Marau, Prashila Devila, Anshoo Chandra and Ashna Kumar during the Ministry of Health Media Workshop at Novotel Suva Lami Bay. Picture: JONA KO

Assistant Minister for Health Alexander O'Connor (middle) shares a moment with journalists, from left, Mereseini Marau, Prashila Devila, Anshoo Chandra and Ashna Kumar during the Ministry of Health Media Workshop at Novotel Suva Lami Bay. Picture: JONA KONATACI

THE Ministry of Health and Medical Services hopes to get an increase in its national budget allocation for the 2018/2019 financial year.

In an interview with this newspaper, Assistant Minister for Health Alexander O’Connor said an increase would help them in many ways.

“We are hoping to have a slight increase compared with what we had last year,” he said.

“Throughout Fiji, facilities and onslaughts like non-communicable diseases need special rooms for medical professionals to attend to patients.

“There is a dire need for foot-care rooms. As I visit facilities, nurses ask for additional rooms to treat patients because most clinics have only one treatment room for every medical conditions and needs.

“So we are working on expanding clinics that have limited space — in which foot-care diseases and postnatal care are all looked at.”

Mr O’Connor said there was also a need to refurbish staff quarters.

“There is also a dire need for refurbishment of quarters and this is an on-going measure we are attending to.

“With the upcoming budget, we have included these needs as well and are already in our submission.

“These needs are all within the budget allocation.”

Last year, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services was allocated a budget of $321.3m in the 2017/2018 National Budget which included $251.6m for operating expenditure, $56.7m for capital expenditure and $13m in respect of VAT.

Mr O’Connor said he had visited all health facilities around the country where he identified these various needs.

“I have been visiting hospitals around the country and I am glad to have done that before my term expires with the general election this year,” he said.

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