From the Editor-in-Chief’s desk: Your November 28 briefing

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University of the South Pacific (USP) staff unions say they want vice-chancellor Professor Pal Ahluwalia out. During a protest yesterday, more than 130 members turned up with placards listing their grievances against the USP management. As the two-day 96th USP Council meeting began in Suva yesterday, staff also questioned why a paper outlining their grievances, was not included in the council’s meeting agenda. A statement from USP management yesterday said they were still negotiating some terms with staff unions. That’s the big news on the front page of The Fiji Times for Tuesday, November 28.


IT’S amazing how life can turn out sometimes. There was a moment in time when Micheline Tasso of Vanuatu stared at a blankwall.

Her daughter Kellyane Young, 3, suffered a heart issue that needed surgery.

Yesterday, brimming with emotions, the young mother retold her story.

She spoke about her fears, and sense of insecurity. She spoke about her daughter and being pushed to a wall.

Yet in the face of her challenges, there was hope when she heard about the Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Children’s Heart Hospital from a mother who brought her son to Fiji for heart surgery.

It encouraged her to bring Kellyane to the Nasese facility.

“She informed me about the Sai Prema Foundation, so I went on Facebook and searched for the hospital,” she shared yesterday.

“I read so many stories about children undergoing surgery and was very touched by it.”

Yesterday, she commended the hospital staff “for the love and care shown to her eldest daughter while undergoing surgery”.

“I thought the only place we could go was either Australia or New Zealand.”

The Sai Prema Foundation and the hospital continues to make bold statements with life life-saving medical treatment.

They provide a service that is accessible to Pacific people who can least afford it.

There are families, with mothers like Micheline who are now rejoicing with the fact that they have young loved ones who have a second shot at life.

And that’s what the Sai Prema Foundation and the hospital offers.

It is a platform where young children are provided the best in medical treatment, and where they get to live their dreams, and have an opportunity to live up to the hopes and aspirations of their parents and guardians.

There can be no doubts about the impact of the hospital on treatment for children in the region, with its state-of-the-art facilities.

We agree that the health of every Fijian is not the responsibility of one person, one organisation, one association or one ministry. The challenge falls on us all to be mindful of our health.

However, in saying that, we reflect on the need for the powers that be to address any shortcomings in our health system and raising it to accepted international standards.

Earlier this year, Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka spoke about Fiji’s public health system, suggesting it was “plagued” with crumbling infrastructure and overworked staff.

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

We acknowledge the effort now going into identifying the various challenges, and putting in place measures and contingencies to upgrade our facilities and systems.

The Sai Prema Foundation and hospital serves as an example of what can happen in our country.

The hospital reminds us of the fact that top class healthcare facilities can be built right here in Fiji.

We should be grateful.

Today, little Kellyane’s mum and dad are over the moon. They are grateful and thankful for the gift of life! What a day it was yesterday! What a moment in their young lives!