Editorial comment – Taking it to another level

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The old wing of the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva. Picture: ATU RASEA/FT FILE

It isn’t every day that the Health Ministry calls on members of the public to join them in a clean-up campaign of the Colonial War Memorial Hospital.

In fact you’d expect it to be up to date about developmental work around our hospitals.

You’d expect it to be consistent with maintenance work and upgrading of our processes and systems.

In fact you’d expect the ministry to be aware of what needs to be done, and actually ensure this is done as and when it is needed or required.

There is an expectation out there and the powers that be must meet that.

However, in saying that, we are also reminded about taking ownership of our health system.

So we can either get angry and frustrated about the state of our health system, and do nothing, or we can get behind the campaign, and actually contribute to making things happen.

So it was encouraging to note that there is a theme for the event which is “Let’s Do It Again, Together for CWMH: We Care”.

The ministry has called for assistance in providing reliable water supply, consistent electricity supply, beds for patients in all wards, clean spaces and rest spaces for health workers. It also highlighted the need for equipment such as dialysis machines, improved maternity unit beds and spaces, laundry services, sheets, towels and pillowcases.

It notes that so much has been raised in the media on the need for some urgent work, from minor to major, from quick fix to major projects to be undertaken at the CWMH.

“There have been challenges in the recent past but the aim now is to instil in all of us living in Suva and throughout Fiji that CWMH, the largest hospital in Fiji, is ‘Our Hospital and Our Collective Responsibility’. We must build a co-ordinated culture of keeping our hospital clean and involve all in the opportunity to make a difference.”

We agree that the health of every Fijian is not the responsibility of one person, one organisation, one association or one ministry but the combined responsibility of us all.

However, we must be reminded about the need for the powers that be to put in place measures that will ensure our systems and processes are in line with expected standards around the world. We are encouraged by the show of support for the campaign.

Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka said Fiji’s public health system was “plagued” with crumbling infrastructure and overworked staff. He said this during an event at the Sai Sanjeevani Children’s Hospital in Suva marking the Prema Foundation’s more than 100 successful heart surgeries.

The PM’s remarks came in the wake of comments attributed to Health Minister Dr Atonio Lalabalavu earlier this week, suggesting that most health facilities were in dire need of renovations.

Again we acknowledge the effort now going into identifying challenges, and putting in place measures and contingencies to upgrade our facilities and systems, resources and the human factor.

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