Rabi Islanders To Benefit From New Fiji Health Center

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Residents suffer from high rate of tuberculosis cases

By Kalesi Mele

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, March 13, 2013) – The people of Rabi will no longer need to leave their homes for tuberculosis (TB) treatment in Suva and Labasa following the opening of their refurbished health center by Fiji’s Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama today.

And with the facility recognized as a Directly Observed Treatment Short course center or DOTS, means that people in Rabi can readily access TB services for free.

The center boasts its own x-ray machine, new equipment to conduct sputum and blood tests, refurbished 10-bed ward, all aimed to help doctors diagnose TB quicker and reduce the number of deaths that occur from TB or other diseases because of delayed diagnosis.

In his address during the opening of the center, Bainimarama said the incidence of TB on the island is 22 times higher than the national average – 513 TB cases per 100,000 people compared with 23 cases per 100,000 in the rest of Fiji.

"Indeed, our experts warn us that if TB is not controlled, the disease has the potential to wipe out the population here in just a few years.

"Of course, prevention is better than cure and I also urge the Rabi Council of Elders and the people of Rabi to work with the Health Center and other government agencies to promote healthier lifestyles on the part of our people.

"As I’ve told other gatherings on this tour, we can all eat less and exercise more. We can eat better foods – more fresh fish, fruit and green vegetables. We can drink less alcohol and yaqona. And we all need to give up smoking."

Bainimarama acknowledged the partnership between the Fiji Government and the private sector and "those who’ve made this project possible."

"It’s been led by the Grant Management Unit of Global Fund based at the Ministry of Health headquarters in Suva. Not only has Global Fund carried out the refurbishment.

"It has provided a 7 foot fiberglass outboard sea ambulance, a Suzuki motorcycle, five new beds and a new 50-panel solar system.

"It’s also funding overseas training in TB treatment for one of our medical officers. "At the same time, the Rotary Club of Taveuni has donated a new incubator for new- born babies and an ultrasound machine. This is a wonderful partnership and I want to thank you all," he said.

The opening of the Rabi center is part of Bainimarama's tour of the North.

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