NEWS

Health Care Big Priority

Public expectation is high for this Government to perform. It’s the case for any new incoming government. People expect miracles to happen particularly in the Ministry of Health and Medical
27 Sep 2014 09:58

Public expectation is high for this Government to perform.

It’s the case for any new incoming government.

People expect miracles to happen particularly in the Ministry of Health and Medical Services. There is so much negativity said about the standard of health and medical services that one would think people would stay away from the hospitals and health centres.

The fact is that hospitals are flat out everyday, treating and saving people. The queues in the outpatients department are still long. The challenge is how can the Government cut the waiting time for consultations and surgical operations.

The Minister for Health Jone Usamate and Assistant Health Minister Veena Bhatnagar while meeting senior ministry staff on Thursday. Photo: Ronald Kumar

The Minister for Health Jone Usamate and Assistant Health Minister Veena Bhatnagar while meeting senior ministry staff on Thursday. Photo: Ronald Kumar

This is a global phenomenon. In the public-funded systems, used by many people because they are either free or cheaper, the challenge to try and balance the budgets is a constant nightmare. Staff and drug shortages and lack of space are not uncommon. This inevitably leads to a growing waiting list for surgeries and shortage of beds.

The focus on non-communicable diseases like high blood pressure, hypertension, diabetes, strokes, heart, liver and kidney problems has some merit.

But it is not the only solution because as people grow old, they become susceptible to all kinds of diseases. So preventative health strategies that reduce hospital or private doctor visits help to a certain extent. But they are not the answer to all the health and medical problems.

Nor do they provide the immediate care so many need. The capacity of our medical facilities to cope with increasing pressures needs to grow too. The user-pay concept can be expanded to help pay the costs. The Suva Private Hospital never runs short of patients who are prepared to pay for a reasonable standard of care.

For minister Jone Usamate and assistant minister Veena Bhatnagar, they have a lot on their plate.

Four years are not long enough to do everything they want to do. What they can do though, is to lay the foundation of a robust health service. The starting block is a basic and efficient primary health care system.

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 



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