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Spate of epidemics raises concern

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, June 3, 2010) - Fiji’s Minister for Health, Dr. Neil Sharma says there is a need to review strategic policies to strengthen and revitalize health care in Fiji.

Sharma said due to the seasonal outbreaks of typhoid, dengue and leptospirosis recently in Fiji, the ministry is working with the Fiji School of Medicine to carry out research to strengthen strategic policies.

"This should come in force by early 2011. The review has been sent to Cabinet for approval," said Sharma. "We want to send a clear message that we are not sitting back," he added.

Sharma says the Public Health Act of 1978 is archaic and needs to be standardized with improvements in the areas of sanitation and safe water.

He said health workers should be incorporated in settlements and the working conditions of nurses improved to retain them especially in rural areas.

District nurse establishments will be increased with 170 new nurses to be recruited to boost the existing 360 nurses.

Sharma said that once the Phase 1 of the process is discussed and operationalized then Phase 2: "Fiji’s Unrelenting Plagues of Dengue, Leptospirosis and Typhoid" will be discussed.

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