Free screenings to start

THERE is good news for people living with disabilities in the country.

In what is said to be a first, free screenings will be held for them by a team of specialists from India.

And the screenings will be done with the aim to make the disabled, able.

Sahyadri Specialty Pacific Hospital Limited (SSPHL) Fiji is bringing specialists to screen disabled persons.

For the past five years, the company, which is owned by New Zealand citizens, has done free screenings in other medical areas and also performed specialised surgeries.

The company has a joint venture agreement with the Ministry of Health and Medical Services to provide tertiary care.

It performed angioplasty surgery in 2012 with the help of its expert doctor Milind Gadkari.

The initiative was taken during the visit of India’s State Minister for External Affairs, Praneet Kaur then.

Angioplasty surgery is a minimally invasive, endovascular procedure to widen arteries or veins.

SSPHL Fiji director Professor Manu Munibhargav said it was done with the support of the Health Ministry and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

“That was a new opening for the provision of high-end tertiary care in Fiji,” he said.

“We have been performing open-heart surgeries, joint replacements, spine and neurosurgery, orthoscopy and other health related areas under our joint venture agreement.

“From 2012, we have also conducted free screening of patients in cardiology, oncology, orthopedics, neurology and other areas in various locations for the benefit of all Fijians.

“But for the first time now, we will conduct exclusive free screenings for the disabled community.

“This is an extension to our present activities in Fiji.”

Prof Munibhargav said there were many types of disabilities in the world.

He said SSPHL Fiji would focus on orthopedic deformity and ophthalmological problems, with reference to blindness.

The free screenings will be held by the company in partnership with the Fiji National Council for Disabled Persons, Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Health Ministry, Ministry of Local Government and the Indian High Commission.

“The objective of these free screenings is to find out or identify people living with disabilities who can be made able,” said Prof Munibhargav.

“During his visit to Fiji in May, India’s State Minister for External Affairs, Vijay Kumar Singh had assured of necessary assistance to establish rehabilitation centres for people living with disabilities.

“We are holding talks with the government to this effect — the establishment of rehabilitation centres for people living with disabilities.”

Prof Munibhargav said the free screenings for people living with disabilities would be held in conjunction with a cultural program.

He said the Indian Government had provided a cultural troupe to perform at no cost to the public at various centres where the free screenings will be held.

The free screenings will start in Labasa next week Thursday (July 27) and will be held for two days followed by others on Viti Levu.

Prof Munibhargav said as far as rehabilitation was concerned, necessary training would be provided to the local physiotherapists and other connected people by specialists from India.

“This training will be offered free of cost as training and upgrading of knowledge is an essential element in the medical field.

“The necessary logistics and management is an integral part of success and relief.

“We have trained three Fijian doctors in intraventional cardiology, non-intraventional cardiology and a neurologist.

“Apart from them, we have also trained nurses, technicians and other medical staff in India.

“We propose to train a similar line of medical staff for the rehabilitation of people living with disabilities.”

Prof Munibhargav said SSPHL was also planning to tap into other diversified areas such as kidney transplant and other organ transplants in Fiji.

“This is in addition to the establishment of a nephrology research centre and kidney dialysis centre.

“The research centre can take care of nephrology (kidney) related areas.

“We are in discussions with the Health Ministry on the kidney transplant and nephrology issues.

“As an extension to the services we provide, kidney transplant is part of our joint venture agreement subject to government approval.

“We have the experts who are capable of performing such complex transplants in Fiji as the operating theatres and facilities at CWM Hospital are of international standards and some modifications/additions are manageable.”

Prof Munibhargav said other details on the kidney transplant and dialysis

issue would be revealed in due course.

He said SSPHL also did free reporting from India for MRI images sent by the Health Ministry for more than four years.

This free reporting, however, stopped in January this year because of various reasons.

Prof Munibhargav also said that neighbouring countries were looking at Fiji as a medical tourism destination.

People interested in the advanced medical procedures and those who need information can contact the SSPHL team directly via email on —

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