DEPARTMENT OF INFORMATION FIJI NEWS SUMMARY 16/10/14 5:00PM

1.?POSITIVE RESPONSES TO FIRST PUBLIC CONSULTATIONS IN LABASA -?People flocked in large numbers yesterday to the Civic Centre in Labasa to take advantage of the first public consultation organised by the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation.

2.?BEEHIVE TRAINING IN TIKINA UDU COMPLETE -?Four villages from the Tikina of Udu in the Northern Division have completed their beehive training this week.

3.?EXTENDED HOURS FOR HEALTH CENTRE PHARMACY -?The Ministry of Health has extended its operating hours for the pharmacies in Nasinu to provide better health care services to people living along the Suva-Nausori corridor.

4.?MASS DRUG ADMINISTRATION AGAINST LYMPHATIC FILARIASIS TO COMMENCE –The Ministry of Health and Medical Services will be conducting the 11th round of mass drug administration against lymphatic filariasis.

5.?SPECIALIST PROSTHETIC OUTREACH SERVICES FOR THE NORTH -?The Ministry of Health and Medical Services dental unit as part of its commitment to provide equitable and accessible health services undertook an outreach program for people in the rural and maritime areas of the North.

6.?SHIPPING DECREE EXTENDED FOR SHIP OWNERS -?Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport with the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) has announced the deferment of the Maritime Transport Decree 2013 and the Shipping Registration Decree to next year.

1.?POSITIVE RESPONSES TO FIRST PUBLIC CONSULTATIONS IN LABASA

People flocked in large numbers yesterday to the Civic Centre in Labasa to take advantage of the first public consultation organised by the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation.

More than 200 people from Labasa met the Hon. Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Mrs Rosy Sofia Akbar.

The idea of public consultations has been mooted by Mrs Akbar to provide first-hand information to the general public on social welfare programs and attend to any queries regarding the Ministry?s programs.

The new strategy aims to expand the reach out of Ministry?s programs to empower the disadvantaged and poor in Fiji.

There was excitement among those who attended the consultations, expressing gratitude to the Minister for giving them the opportunity to access government?s assistance to uplift their lives.

During her opening address, Mrs Akbar said that similar consultations will be held around the country in the coming months.

?This is the first public consultation organised here in Labasa, giving people the opportunity to directly seek information on social welfare programs and just to hear them out. We are happy with the turnout today and this approach will help us to effectively address the plight of the poor,? Mrs Akbar said.

?We will deal case by case. All of your concerns will be documented and the Ministry will try to respond within 2 weeks? time.

?All the social welfare programs are processed within certain criteria and we will ensure that all the deserving cases are assisted. We will be organising similar consultations throughout Fiji,? Mrs Akbar said.

Bimla Wati, a 65 year-old widow from Vulovi, Labasa said through the consultation she is now aware about the application processes for the welfare programs.

?I am delighted to be here today and when I heard it over the radio that this consultation was taking place, I didn?t want to miss the opportunity. It was also the first time for us to meet a women?s minister and she is very kind in her approach and advised us on ways we can apply for government?s assistance,? Mrs Kumar said.

A farmer from Vunivau, Labasa, 68 year-old Chandrika Prasad said the new initiatives undertaken by Government are evidence of its commitment to assist ordinary Fijians.

?We sincerely thank the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama for reaching out to us and this consultation has been helpful for the poor people. There are many people who have been assisted through Food Voucher Programme, monthly allowances and Social Pension Scheme. The free education and free bus fare for school children have also been a great help for poor families,? Mr Prasad said.

?During the last floods we were adversely affected and that was when we saw the Prime Minister walk right up to our doorstep to assist us. ?PM Bainimarama is a leader worth praising and we are truly touched by the compassion shown here today by Minister for Women Mrs Akbar in trying to uplift the lives of poor people.?

The Ministry todate has assisted more than,?17,000?people through its Poverty Benefit Scheme,?2211?recipients for the Care and Protection Program, a total of11,194?beneficiaries for the Social Pension Scheme, more than?30,000?people are also benefiting from Bus Fare Concession with a total of?1003?recipients for the Expanded Food Voucher Program for pregnant mothers.

2.?BEEHIVE TRAINING IN TIKINA UDU COMPLETE

Four villages from the Tikina of Udu in the Northern Division have completed their beehive training this week.

Conducted by the Integrated Human Resources Development Programme (IHRDP); the villages include Vunikodi, Cawaro, Nukusa, Nabouono and Nukudamu.

IHRDP Manager Aslam Khan said they have so far conducted five trainings on the technicalities of beehive farming, management trainings and financial literacy.

?Each of these villages has formed their bee keeping committee who will ensure the success and welfare of their project,? Mr Khan said.

Mr Khan said a total of 20 boxes of beehive have been given to each village which should earn them a total of $2,400 for the first harvest.

Nukudamu village headman, Epeli Bati said the training has been useful and is an eye opener for the villagers.

?We have realised that we have resources, we have skills and the government is giving us first hand opportunity to work on such projects so that we have sustainable living conditions,? Mr Bati said.

The final training for the five villages on financial literacy was conducted by Northern Development Programme in collaboration with IHRDP under the office of the Divisional Commissioner Northern.

3.?EXTENDED HOURS FOR HEALTH CENTRE PHARMACY

The Ministry of Health has extended its operating hours for the pharmacies in Nasinu to provide better health care services to people living along the Suva-Nausori corridor.

The new operating hours for the Valelevu and Makoi Pharmacy are now from?6.30am to 10pm?on weekdays and?8am to 4pm?on weekends and public holidays.

The Hon. Assistant Minister for Health, Mrs Veena Bhatnagar said during the decentralization of the general outpatient health services at Colonial War Memorial Hospital, Valelevu and Makoi health centers provided extended hours of these services until 10pm.

Mrs Bhatnagar said the extended opening hours for the pharmacy in Makoi and Valelevu is aligned to the opening hours of the health center hours.

Valelevu Health Centre has two pharmacy staff which sees an average of 450 patients a day.

The opening hours will now enable patients to access medicine supply.

?Valelevu Health Centre provides services to a population of 54,000 people along the Kings Road. This population is catered by three medical officers, two nurse practitioners, 19 nursing staff and four allied staff,? Mrs Bhatnagar said.

The general and specialist outpatient clinical services together with the integrated management of childhood illness (IMCI) clinic see an average of 550 patients from?6.30am?to 10m.

4.?MASS DRUG ADMINISTRATION AGAINST LYMPHATIC FILARIASIS TO COMMENCE

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services will be conducting the 11th round of mass drug administration against lymphatic filariasis.

It will occur in the Taveuni sub-division, Eastern Division and Malolo Island (Solevu & Yaro village).

The goal of this anticipated campaign is to ensure that all eligible population living within these localities participate in this filariasis drug treatment and also to free people of Fiji from suffering the consequences of the disease and also to eliminate lymphatic filariasis.

Over 50,000 individuals older than 2years of age residing in the Taveuni subdivision, Eastern division and Malolo Island (Solevu & Yaro) will be targeted for treatment during the filariasis free week.

Pregnant women and two year old children will be excluded from the treatments

The Filariasis Free Week is scheduled on the?17th-24th October.

The launch of this campaign will be held on Friday 17th October at Mataika House Conference Room in Tamavua.

5.?SPECIALIST PROSTHETIC OUTREACH SERVICES FOR THE NORTH

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services dental unit as part of its commitment to provide equitable and accessible health services undertook an outreach program for people in the rural and maritime areas of the North.

People living in these areas were able to receive specialist prosthetic services.

This activity is part of the Health Ministry?s annual business plan and involves the replacement of missing teeth by artificial teeth and thus enables adults and senior citizens to improve their health and quality of life.

Taking these services down to the grassroots level ensure that people are able to save time, money and the inconvenience on the cost of getting dentures made.

The people of Cakaudrove, including the island of Taveuni, were treated by a team from Labasa Hospital who provided much needed dentures.

The team was also at Savusavu sub-divisional hospital between the?1st?to the?12th of September?to provide these services.

A total of 110 cases were seen over two weeks and the elderly were especially grateful for new sets of teeth, particularly as this would aid in chewing food better while at the same time helping them to look and speak better.

6.?SHIPPING DECREE EXTENDED FOR SHIP OWNERS

Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport with the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) has announced the deferment of the Maritime Transport Decree 2013 and the Shipping Registration Decree to next year.

Ministry?s permanent secretary Francis Kean said the deferment is to allow thorough vetting of the 35 requisite regulations by the Office of the Solicitor General in close consultation with MSAF technical expertise.

?The deferment is to enable the completion of about 35 requisite regulations being drafted by MSAF including the subsequent vetting by the Office of the Solicitor-General,? Mr Kean said.

“It’s ideal and desirable to bring into effect the regulations at the same time as the two decrees come into effect.?

MSAF chief executive officer Neale Slack said what is important throughout this period of deferment, is for stakeholders to have familiarise themselves with regulations.

The decrees will now come into effect on?January 1, 2015.