- FIRST CERVICAL CANCER POLICY LAUNCHED – The Ministry of Health and Medical Services launched the first Cervical Cancer Policy today aimed at strengthening efforts in the fight against cervical cancer, the most common cancer here over the last 10 years.
- Italian bees available for beekeepers – The breed of Italian bee is available for sale to beekeepers at the Ministry of Agriculture Research Stations in Vanua Levu and Ra.
- COURTS AND MINISTRY PARTNERSHIP TO CREATE NEW OPPORTUNITIES – The partnership between Courts Fiji Limited and the Ministry of Women will continue to pursue various opportunities that will empower and improve the lives of those families that depend on welfare assistance.
- PATHOLOGY EXPERTS MEET IN FIJI – Pathology experts from the Asia Pacific region are in the country to speak on the importance of diagnosing diseases and monitoring healthcare at the 3rd Regional Pathology Symposium.
1 FIRST CERVICAL CANCER POLICY LAUNCHED
The Ministry of Health and Medical Services launched the first Cervical Cancer Policy today aimed at strengthening efforts in the fight against cervical cancer, the most common cancer here over the last 10 years.
Speaking at the launch, the Minister for Health and Medical Services, Hon. Jone Usamate said more than 161 new cases of cervical cancer are recorded every year.
Minister Usamate highlighted steps taken over the years to prevent and address the deadly illness through access to a comprehensive cervical cancer prevention and control program, which has the potential to reach all girls through the HPV vaccination and all women who are at risk with screening and treatment of pre-cancer.
“Fiji has implemented the HPV vaccinations for all Year Eight girls and cervical cancer screening using either Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid or cytology to all eligible women. Opportunistic cervical cancer screening has been ongoing for more than 20 years,” Minister Usamate said.
Immunization of Year Eight girls with HPV vaccine in a school-based programme commenced in February 2013 and has been added to the national immunization schedule.
Minister Usamate said while the results of these efforts will be evident in the near future, the high burden of cervical cancer faced now required intensified efforts to strengthen screening and treatment programs.
“Pap test screening in Fiji had reached the full capacity of existing technical infrastructure and human resources with 20,000 Pap smears per year. We need to screen more women at risk of cervix cancer using affordable screening methods with the capacity to maintain good quality control. In other words, the Ministry has recognised the need for cervix cancer screening to be run as a program rather than as an uncoordinated clinical activity.
“A pilot project was conducted with Australian Aid funding using visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) a low resource method of cervical screening endorsed by the World Health Organisation, followed by cryotherapy as an immediate “screen and treat” for a suspected pre-cancer. The study indicated that this was a feasible component of any cancer screening program in Fiji,” Minister Usamate added.
Government also committed to the procurement of a liquid based cytology machine last year, which could double the number of test done in a year.
The Liquid Based Cytology (LBC) was introduced with the intention of increasing laboratory productivity via computer-assisted screening and decreasing reporting times.
Minister Usamate said the introduction of these methods of cervical cancer screening and the addition of more human resource underpinned the ministry’s commitment to have in place a national cervix cancer screening program that will ultimately reduce the burden of Cervical Cancer deaths.
Australian High Commission’s Counsellor for Development Cooperation (Fiji and Tuvalu) Joanne Choe said the policy aimed to have the women between the ages of 30 and 49 screened for cervical cancer every three years.
Meanwhile, Government also received a donation of six cancer screening equipment from the Fiji Health Sector Support Programme to complement works towards cervix cancer screening program.
2 Italian bees available for beekeepers
The breed of Italian bee is available for sale to beekeepers at the Ministry of Agriculture Research Stations in Vanua Levu and Ra.
Batiri Bee Research Station and the Dobuilevu Bee Research Station now has 70 to 85 percent pure strain of the breed available for bee farmers.
The Ministry’s Technical officer Asween Kumar said farmers that are interested in the Italian bee breed can request through their nearest locality livestock officers for the Italian queen bees.
“Farmers can buy the Italian Queen Bees at $15 per queen and the commercial farmers will be entitled to buy five Queen Bees, Semi Commercial farmers three while Subsistence farmers are entitled to buy 2 Queen Bees.”
“We are recommending bee farmers to buy the Italian queen bee to improve the breed of bees for better yield.
“Italian bees produce more honey compared to the cross of Italian and European black bees that most of the farmers in Fiji currently have in their hives,” he said.
Italian bees are yellow in colour with few black bands and some of the characteristics are:
- They are docile when handled gently
- These bees cling to comb when handled and doesn’t fall or fly
- Industrious and good forages
- Maintains large brood area
- They have good defence against Wax Moth
- Less swarming
- Resistant to some diseases
Meanwhile there are 1,548 bee farmers in Fiji with 14,276 hives from which 516 farmers are from the Western Division with 7521 hives while 742 farmers are from the Northern Division with 3961 hives. The rest are from the Central and Eastern Divisions.
The Ministry of Agriculture provides technical advice to the farmers on bee keeping and also provides farmer trainings.
Last year the Ministry conducted 35 training on bee keeping around the country to 1198 participants.
3 COURTS AND MINISTRY PARTNERSHIP TO CREATE NEW OPPORTUNITIES
The partnership between Courts Fiji Limited and the Ministry of Women will continue to pursue various opportunities that will empower and improve the lives of those families that depend on welfare assistance.
This was highlighted at a meeting between the Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Hon. Rosy Akbar and Courts Fiji Limited Director Marketing, Mr Anil Senewiratne.
The meeting was held yesterday at the Ministry’s headquarters in Suva and looked at key areas of collaboration between the two agencies. Minister Akbar said this partnership will be instrumental in empowering the disadvantaged families in Fiji.
“The Ministry through this partnership aims to reach out to as many women groups as possible and provide them with opportunities to become financially empowered. Through this collaborative approach, we aim to make a bigger impact in improving the lives of rural women. “The Ministry is grateful to Courts Fiji Limited for this partnership in complementing the vision of the Ministry,” Minister Akbar said.
Mr Senewiratne said Courts Fiji Limited will provide skills training and employment opportunities for the less fortunate.
“Courts Fiji is pleased with this opportunity provided by the Ministry to empower the women through realizing their talents. Courts had already partnered with the Ministry in training 1400 women through 342 tailoring and creative designing workshops conducted throughout Fiji.
“Financial literacy trainings will also be provided to upskill the women particularly those in rural areas. Marketing opportunities is readily available and we just have to capitalize on it to assist the rural women in walking out of poverty,” Mr Senewiratne emphasised.
Some of the key areas of partnership between Courts Fiji and Ministry of Women will be:
- Media campaigning for the 16 days of Activism, develop an awareness package
- Skills Training and Marketing opportunities for rural women
- The Ministry to review its Memorandum of Agreement with Courts Fiji and South Pacific Business Development (SPBD) that was signed in 2013
- Promoting the National Women’s Expo and Divisional Craft Show 2015
4 PATHOLOGY EXPERTS MEET IN FIJI
Pathology experts from the Asia Pacific region are in the country to speak on the importance of diagnosing diseases and monitoring healthcare at the 3rd Regional Pathology Symposium.
The symposium is a partnership between the Fiji National University (FNU) and the International Academy of Pathology enabling international and local pathologists and clinicians to meet and support academic and professional development of services in the region.
While opening the Seminar, the Minister for Health and Medical Services, Hon. Jone Usamate highlighted the importance of maintaining high standards of quality, integrity and advancing patient care.
“Current Pacific health indicators relating to Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) paint a bleak picture for current and future generations of Pacific Islanders unless a consorted and sustained effort is made to address this menacing issue,” Minister Usamate stressed.
“Within the Pathology Fraternity, it is important to ensure that every citizen has access to quality assured diagnostic service and quality in laboratory services.”
Minister Usamate added that NCDs is a burden and contributes to a loss of productivity and contribution by an active economic age band but also through cost to the health system.
FNU Department of Medical Sciences professor Dr Rajat Gyaneshwar said pathology as a science has looked at the cause of disease, tried to understand the disease process and the consequences of these on health and contribution to suffering.
The two-day seminar will give the speakers from Thailand, Japan and Australia a chance to speak on the advancement of pathology education and professional mentoring of pathology in the Pacific.