Editorial comment – Positive outlook

Fijian Government officials, Aspen Medical CEO, Bruce Armstrong, with FNPF CEO Jaoji Koroi and staff. Picture: SUPPLIED

The revelation that Fiji will soon boost the Pacific’s first cancer treatment facility when the oncology department at the Lautoka Hospital is completed is interesting.

Aspen Medical and Health Care (Fiji) chief executive officer Annette Owttrim said the pioneering facility was part of upgrade plans for the hospital which had been finalised.

Plans and refurbishment and upgrade of the Lautoka Hospital have been finalised, she said.

The plans, she said, had been shown to the Australian Minister for the Pacific Senator Zed Seselja.

“He will be standing on the ground where the first facility for oncology services for the Pacific will be built,” she said.

The facility, she said, would focus on the treatment of cancer patients and offer services that are not available in Fiji now.

“So this means that all Pacific islanders will be able to come to Fiji to have radiation therapy, have their chemotherapy and the surgeons will be upskilled so no longer will they have to have a full mastectomy.

“They’ll only have to have the lump taken out and keep their breasts and so there are just so many stories like that.

“So we’ve now designed everything and we are going through the process of tendering and then we hope to be building in the middle of next year at the Lautoka Hospital.”

According to Aspen Medical, the upgraded 305-bed Lautoka Hospital would continue to provide general inpatient and outpatient services, emergency department, maternity services, neonatal and children’s services, operating theatres and will deliver enhanced clinical services across a range of specialities including renal dialysis, chemotherapy, maternity, oncology, coronary care and intensive care.

It makes sense then that any effort or initiative to organise improved medical services right here at home will no doubt be welcomed greatly.

There are many positives and benefits of such factors incorporated into our health care system.

In fact we all stand to benefit greatly.

Aside from organisation and planning, and funds for overseas treatment, there is the issue of being in another country, far from loved ones.

This latest move should be acknowledged.

It must be encouraged and embraced as a very positive outlook for the future.

We are impressed by the plans and look forward with enthusiasm and anticipation for the base to be set up and strengthened.

Our challenge though remains preventative care, and obviously, early detection for cancer.

These are critical elements that must factor in the overall plan to fight cancer.

But things are certainly looking positive, and good.

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