1. MINISTER FOR HEALTH HON MR JONE USAMATE ADDRESSES THE 68THWORLD HEALTH ASSEMBLY AT GENEVA-Fijian Minister for Health & Medical Services Hon. Jone Usamate today addressed the World Health Assembly in his capacity as chair of the Pacific Health Ministers.

 

  1. MINISTRY AND SPC ORGANISES LEADERSHIP TRAINING FOR CENTRAL/EASTERN DIVISION-In the pursuit of advancing women?s leadership skills, the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation for the first time partnered with the Secretariat of the Pacific (SPC) Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT) Pacific Leadership Program to provide a comprehensive leadership training workshop.

 

  1. WELLNESS SYMPOSIUM FOR FAITH-BASED ORGANISATION-The Ministry of Health & Medical Services Wellness Centre organised a national symposium on Wellness for Faith-Based organisation to develop strategies to combat the increasing non- communicable diseases in the country.

 

1. ? MINISTER FOR HEALTH HON MR JONE USAMATE ADDRESSES THE 68THWORLD HEALTH ASSEMBLY AT GENEVA

Fijian Minister for Health & Medical Services Hon. Jone Usamate today addressed the World Health Assembly in his capacity as chair of the Pacific Health Ministers.

Hon. Jone Usamate told the 68th World Assembly of Health Ministers from all member states of the World Health Organisation, that the Pacific Islands were united in the Health islands vision where;

 

  • Children are nurtured in body and mind;
  • Environments invite learning and leisure;
  • People work and age with dignity;
  • Ecological balance is a source of pride; and
  • The ocean, which sustains us, is protected.

The Minister stated that the Pacific faced challenges that had a direct and devastating impact on the way of life of Pacific islanders.

?We face the challenges of?increasing and ageing populations. New diseases such as Chikungunya have emerged. Old ones like TB, malaria, measles and diarrhea remain a threat. We have addressed disease outbreaks in the past that have tested the resilience of our health systems,? Minister Usamate said.

?We have two major challenges that face us today in the Pacific. Non-communicable diseases such as diabetes are highest?in the world, shortening the lives of our people. We know about tsunami in the Pacific, but this NCD tsunami is like nothing we have ever seen.

?We fight the challenge of ever intensifying natural disasters such as cyclones and flooding, the recent one being Cyclone Pam which caused widespread devastation in Vanuatu and Kiribati.?

The Minister told the World Health Assembly that in some countries in the Pacific, people had lost their homes as a result of rising sea levels, and the frequency and intensity of natural disasters, led to limited access to basic necessities such as food and water. This situation has in itself created a health crisis for the Pacific.

In this regard, Minister Usamate called on the countries attending the World Health Assembly to work together to achieve a fair outcome in the Paris Conference of Climate Change in December this year.

?We plead with you to take some action?to make use of this last chance to do something about climate change, or we will lose some Pacific nations to climate change.?

While in Geneva the Minister who is accompanied by the Ministry’s Deputy Secretary Public Health Dr Eric Rafai also attended side events on specific health issues, and chaired a meeting yesterday of Pacific Health Ministers to discuss interventions from the Pacific Island States during the discussion at the Assembly.

The World Health Assembly is the decision-making body of World Health Organization (WHO) and is attended by delegations from all WHO Member States with a ?focus on specific health agendas.

The Health assembly is held annually in Geneva, Switzerland.

 

2. MINISTRY AND SPC ORGANISES LEADERSHIP TRAINING FOR CENTRAL/EASTERN DIVISION

In the pursuit of advancing women?s leadership skills, the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation for the first time partnered with the Secretariat of the Pacific (SPC) Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT) Pacific Leadership Program to provide a comprehensive leadership training workshop.

The three-day program was held at Studio 6, Suva from 18 May to 20 May, 2015. The workshop is especially designed for women leaders (Marama ni Mataqali, Liuliu ni Soqosoqo ni Marama), women advisory councilors and members of local committees to effectively represent their communities in development forums, divisional councils and ultimately in parliament.

The Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Rosy Akbar said the main objective of the training was to provide capacity building for women leaders.

?The key objective of the training is to enhance women?s participation and leadership in various spheres of social interaction and decision. It also identifies the challenges that women leaders face in trying to effectively and efficiently advocate for the women they represent; and by developing an Action Plan to address the challenges identified,? Minister Akbar said.

?The mentoring programme is designed to achieve the objectives of building skills in human rights, leadership and advocacy. A total budget of?$100,000?has been allocated to the Ministry of Women for the development of women?s leadership trainings that will be held in all the divisions throughout the year. This is the first training for the year and it includes participants from as far as Lomaiviti province.

?The 43 participants comprise of traditional women leaders and NGO leaders including those from?eastern and central division. The department is investing about $15,000 on this training alone,? Minister Akbar said.

Sereana Qoro, President of Lomaiviti Women?s Association is determined to put into practice her new knowledge of leadership to create positive changes in her community.

?For example, malnutrition is becoming a problem in my province and I am empowered to do something about it. We mothers play the key role in preparing food for our families. I see the need to work with our women leaders at the village level to empower the rural mothers to farm vegetables in their backyards instead of buying and feeding their babies with noodles. In these small ways, we can influence change that will impact our society? Mrs Qoro said.

SPC?s Deputy Director Human Rights Programme (RRRT), Mark Atterton, said ???SPC is proud to have facilitated this Leadership Training to promote effective leadership amongst traditional women leaders, female council representatives and committee?s members in Fiji. When women are empowered to realise their full potential and are supported for leadership, all of society benefits. A transformed partnership based on equality between women and men is a condition for people-centered sustainable development.?

Discussions during the 3 days focused on the theme of equality of human rights and social justice as fundamental prerequisite for equality, development and peace.

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) will also be signed this month between the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).

This new partnership signals a closer working relationship between both agencies, particularly in ensuring gender sensitization, mainstreaming monitoring and reporting on Fiji?s implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Beijing Platform for Action (BPA).

 

  1. WELLNESS SYMPOSIUM FOR FAITH-BASED ORGANISATION

The Ministry of Health & Medical Services Wellness Centre organised a national symposium on Wellness for Faith-Based organisation to develop strategies to combat the increasing non- communicable diseases in the country.

Various representatives from faith-based organisations around the country gathered at the Pearl Resort to discuss ways in which the Wellness concept can be incorporated into existing faith based programs.

It has been noted that the country?s population is made up of people from various religious backgrounds. Thus being an important inclusion in creating awareness and advocating on Wellness and lifestyle behaviour change.

The prevalence of NCD?s amongst Fijians is quite alarming as it is responsible for more than 80% of the deaths in the country. NCD?s are the medical consequences of the social determinants.

The Health Ministry?s Wellness Centre has identified that it is important to lobby and create awareness for behaviour change amongst people through faith-based organisations. Faith based organisations can be instrumental in conveying health and wellness messages effectively to the grass root level.

The Hon. Assistant Minister for Health & Medical Services Hon. Veena Bhatnagar while addressing the participants said, ?People should take care of their health early and make informed choices about their lives mentally, physically and spiritually?.

?NCD?s can be prevented if we invest in our health early by eating a balanced and healthy diet, exercising every day and refraining from bad foods and behaviours like smoking cigarettes and abusing alcohol and yaqona?, said Minister Bhatnagar.

National Advisor Non Communicable Diseases Dr Isimeli Tukana said NCD?s is equally a social issue as well as being a medical issue.

?Your health is the direct effect of what you eat and how you maintain your health through physical activity?.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry continues to remind people to incorporate the wellness concept into their daily lives for their overall wellbeing. This includes a balanced lifestyle and daily physical activity.