Heart Disease ‘Lacks Awareness’

Oceania Hospitals Pte Ltd has plans to be the hub of the Pacific. It is fast-tracking preparations to get in a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan machine to boost its medical services.
08 Apr 2021 10:01
Heart Disease ‘Lacks Awareness’
Left: Oceania Hospitals executive director Pramesh Sharma at the Holiday Inn, Suva, on April 7, 2021. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Heart disease is an area Fiji lacks awareness, says Oceania Hospitals PTE Ltd Interventional cardiologist, Dr Prakash Gore.

Dr Gore said there was a need for people to know more about heart diseases.

“Heart disease is quite a lot in Fiji, so basically we are facing issues with the presentation of the patient because there is a lack of awareness,” Dr Gore said.

“Most of the patients do not recognise that they have heart disease. And by the time they present themselves to the hospital, they are very late.

“The youngest patient I had that developed a heart attack was 28 years old. And he had received some medication and referred to me, so we did his stenting.

Dr Prakash Gore at the Holiday Inn, Suva, on April 7, 2021. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Dr Prakash Gore at the Holiday Inn, Suva, on April 7, 2021.
Photo: Ronald Kumar

“There is a lot of risk factor of heart disease in young patients here. Everyone should be aware of what heart disease is, symptoms and they should not neglect or overlook it.”

Oceania Hospitals Pte Ltd executive director Pramesh Sharma said they had plans to make Oceania Hospitals the hub of the Pacific.

“We have been trying to get the open heart surgery procedure here from 2017, but the challenge has been getting cardiac surgeons into the country,” Mr Sharma said.

“As soon as we can create heart conducive environment then we can get cardiac surgeons to come and do it. We have been in deep engagement with two specialists’ surgeons, and we are hoping that before the end of this year we can get that off the ground.”

Mr Sharma said the Continuous Medical Education (CME) held at Suva’s Holiday Inn yesterday was an opportunity for all the external practitioners to come and meet their specialists and other specialists.

“One of our key elements at Oceania Hospitals is to provide an option for practitioners to be trained to have their continual medical dedication provisions,” he said.

“We normally hold this at the hospital every other week, but we have at least had three externals to give an opportunity for all the external practitioners to come and meet our specialists and other specialists.

“It is really an education and it is also practitioners require points for their registration annually and this provides them that opportunity for them to get their registration.”


The challenges in the health sector are quite known in Fiji, said Mr Sharma.

“The challenges are mostly personnel, human resource. The specialist skills provisions in Fiji is always limited to what we can get or what we really need,” he said.

“The other elements are that we want to expand our hospital operations, but the limitation continues. We can afford the infrastructure, but we cannot get the people; we do not have the number of people at Oceania Hospitals.

“We are trying hard to be the hub of the Pacific Islands where we become the one-stop shop. Hopefully in the next two to three years, Fiji becomes a full tertiary care hospital provision.

“The challenge in Fiji is late presentation, affordability of care and low levels of availability of resources, especially in the larger communities.


Oceania Hospitals has plans to have a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan machine sent here.

MRI is a medical imaging technique that uses a magnetic field and computer-generated radio waves to create detailed images of the organs and tissues in your body.

“We will continue to invest, and Oceania Hospitals is fast-tracking to get in our MRI. We are in the last stages in selecting which MRI we will get,” he said.

“This will almost complete all the diagnostic capabilities our hospital needs, and we are focusing heavily on diagnostic. And we have managed to get all diagnostic capabilities at Oceania Hospitals by MRI. Hopefully by the end of this year, we will have an MRI at Oceania Hospitals.

“This will allow early detection and better diagnostic for early treatment.”


Oceania Hospitals is also being challenged with current expansion plans.

“We have had our pharmacy licence restrictions placed on them and that has hindered our progress,” Mr Sharma said.

“We wanted to get satellite hospital in the populated areas and that is to take the service to the people.

“The expansion plan remains the same. We want to have the satellite hospitals around densely populated areas attached with pharmacy services so people can access. And this is what we are trying to get to.”

They are also trying to get more tertiary care facility or procedures done at the hospitals.

“And what we are trying to achieve this year is get open heart surgery here locally and get full-time specialist base here,” Mr Sharma said.

“We are fortunate that we can get specialists working for us and we continue to get more.”

Edited by Naisa Koroi


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