Health issues

ADDRESSING the health needs of Fijians will be a critical issue for the political party that will form government after the 2018 polls.

Five out of the six political parties that are looking forward to this year’s polls have come out with mixed views on the status of the country’s health sector, revealing their plans and policies to address the country’s health needs.

The six registered political parties were asked the questions:

* What is your view on the status of the health sector in Fiji?

* How will your party address it?

The FijiFirst party did not respond to the questions when this edition went to press yesterday. Questions were sent to the parties via electronic mail (email) on Wednesday.

Responding to the questions, Unity Fiji party president Adi Sivia Qoro said the country’s health system needed reforms.

Adi Sivia said a weak health system was an obstacle to achieving the maximum health benefit possible from the resources available.

National Federation Party leader Professor Biman Prasad claims the problems in the public health care and medical services were well documented.

Prof Prasad claims some of the problems included the lack of doctors and nurses, lack of basic amenities, shortage of beds forcing patients to lie in corridors, overworked doctors and nurses and other health personnel, shortage of basic medicine, expired medicine, a shambolic so-called free medicine scheme, long waiting time for patients to see a doctor and lack of diagnostic equipment.

Fiji Labour Party parliamentary leader Aman Ravindra-Singh claimed that it was widely acknowledged that our health care facilities were “grossly inadequate and under-equipped”.

Mr Ravindra-Singh said the health of some Fijians was also a critical issue.

Social Democratic Liberal Party leader Sitiveni Rabuka said Fiji’s health services needed a massive overhaul commencing from basic health services at primary, secondary and tertiary levels.

Mr Rabuka claimed the shortage of skilled health staff, poor working conditions and high turnover of staff and dissatisfaction have created this vacuum.

Fiji United Freedom Party leader Jagath Karunaratne said a medical health insurance scheme for the country would solve some critical health issues.

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