When the International Women’s Association (IWA) raised the issue of the decrepit condition of toilets at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital with the FijiFirst government in 2018, they were literally dismissed.
Four years later, IWA president Judy Compain said the state of the facilities had worsened even further.
She said former health minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete had been spending his time attacking the coalition Government that has only been in power for four weeks, and needed to be reminded of his failure to address a serious health issue for newborns and mothers.
“We were told our services were not needed and they (FijiFirst government) were going to undertake renovations and upgrades to the bathrooms,” Ms Compain said.
“Four and a half years later, photos taken on January 16, 2023, reveal more disgusting, mould-infested, dilapidated bathrooms.
“The bathrooms are in much worse condition than in 2018 and it looks like there could be a serious outbreak of infection if there hasn’t already been one.”
Ms Compain claimed former health minister Dr Waqainabete needed to take responsibility for his inaction instead of being “all over social media having a go at the new Government”.
“He is concerned about the floods in Ba and whatever else he thinks is newsworthy.
“Why wasn’t he concerned about the high infection rate and new babies and the condition of the bathrooms in the maternity hospital?”
Ms Compain claimed it was obvious Dr Waqainabete and the FijiFirst government did not care much about the facilities at the maternity unit. She said the dignity of women was disrespected as they were subjected to “disgusting, smelly and mouldy bathroom”.
Ms Compain said no one from the Health Ministry had contacted her since she posted the pictures on social media last week.
Health Ministry permanent secretary Dr James Fong said he would need to check on the state of the maternity unit bathrooms as the photos were taken a few years ago.
“I will need to check again and revert,” he said.
- Questions sent to Dr Waqainabete yesterday remain unanswered when this edition went to press.