Consider challenges of small island countries, Fiji’s Health Minister urges WHO

Minister for Health Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete (left) with opposition member Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu during a parliament break. Picture: FT FILE/RAMA

MINISTER for Health and Medical Services Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete has called on the World Health Organisation (WHO) to consider the challenges of Small Island Developing Countries.

Dr Waqainabete yesterday delivered Fiji’s national statement at the 72nd Session of the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.

He said Small Island Developing countries (SIDs) faced challenges in their pursuit for universal health coverage.

He added countries such as Fiji remained burdened with substantial limitations that could be addressed through partnerships and collaborations.

The Minister for Health reiterated the existential threat of climate change and its effects on health, the high cost of medicines, vaccines and equipment with due consideration to economies of scale, non-communicable and communicable diseases, human resource for health limitations (HRH), and lack of internship opportunities that could have broadened the scope of health workers.

He also called on development partners to support efforts towards human resource for health, strategic financing and the strengthening of emergency response capabilities.

The Health Minister also delivered the Commonwealth Statement on behalf of the 53-member countries in addition to Fiji’s national statement at the assembly.


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