Dr Fong on $30m Keyasi Hospital | We had to follow policy

Ministry of Health permanent secretary Dr James Fong. Picture: FT FILE/ELIKI NUKUTABU

Many of those working in the Health Ministry sympathise with comments made by Rural and Maritime Development Minister Sakiasi Ditoka regarding Navosa Sub-divisional Hospital in Keyasi.

Health Ministry permanent secretary Dr James Fong said this in response to queries from this newspaper in relation to Mr Ditoka’s comments about the hospital.

Mr Ditoka questioned the necessity of investing heavily into constructing the hospital, he said research should had been done and a better strategy would have been upgrading the Sigatoka Hospital and providing improved ambulances services, given only two or three patients had been admitted in the Keyasi Hospital in the past few months.

Dr Fong, who was the Health Ministry PS under the FijiFirst government said the construction of the $30 million hospital “has been a source of discussion within our corridors”.

However, he said civil servants “work with whatever policy the government of the day rolls out”.

“Those were decisions that were made under a different policy arrangement and many of us do feel some sympathy for what the minister has said, it has been discussed within our corridors,” Dr Fong said.

“The decisions made to build it, that’s a different discussion. That was a policy arrangement, and we will work with whatever we have been directed to work with. “That means that different governments have different policies, the current government has a different policy.”

Dr Fong said that the ministry was now working to remedy access to Keyasi, but at the same time facilitate an ongoing infrastructure improvement program for all subdivision hospitals.

The Keyasi Hospital was a project of the FijiFirst government and was commissioned in 2021.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, then Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said the subdivisional hospital would serve 26 villages, 58 settlements, 11 kindergartens and 13 primary and two secondary schools, and that surgeries could now be performed in a modern operating theatre, “with proper post operative care and inpatient services”.

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