MORE FIJI NURSES HEADING FOR MARSHALL ISLANDS

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (April 15, 2002 - Sun/PINA Nius Online)---More nurses are leaving the Fiji Islands for the Marshall Islands, where they earn more attractive wages, Fiji Nurses Association general secretary Kuini Lutua confirmed.

Mrs. Lutua said two weeks ago three staff nurses from Suva's Colonial War Memorial Hospital and two from Nausori Health Centre left.

They went to join other Fiji nurses now serving in the Marshall Islands.

The continuing departure of nurses for jobs overseas underscores concerns over a shortage of nurses in Fiji hospitals.

Mrs. Lutua said 29 nurses left in the first quarter of this year.

"With a little over 1,700 nurses we have in Fiji, 29 leaving in the first four months is very high," Mrs. Lutua said.

"Most of the nurses have worked for at least 15 years in hospitals around the country and they are the experienced ones," she said.

"Agents have been requesting more local nurses."

Mrs. Lutua said job evaluations pertaining to the nurses’ working conditions and salaries would be carried out by the government.

The association hopes it will take the skill drain seriously and improve local working conditions and incentives.

Meanwhile, Radio Fiji quoted Health Permanent Secretary Luke Rokovada as saying 20 more overseas doctors will arrive at the end of this month to help ease a doctor shortage.

Fiji has suffered a continuing shortage of doctors because of migration, which increased rapidly after the 1987 and 2000 coups.

For additional reports from the Fiji Sun, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Fiji Sun.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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