MINISTRY OF INFORMATION FIJI NEWS SUMMARY 4:30PM 14/08/13

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1.?FREE HEALTH CHECK AT HIBISCUS FESTIVAL -?In efforts to create awareness on the risks of non-communicable diseases, the Ministry of Health will conduct free medical check-ups and health screenings at the 2013 Vodafone Hibiscus Festival.

2.?HEALTH MINISTRY AVAILS DRUGS AT CHEAPER PRICE -?Patients who have undergone kidney transplant are once again urged to register with Ministry of Health?s bulk purchase scheme at Jerusalem Road to have access to medication at a much cheaper price.

 

3.?TEACHERS, TAKE HEED OF GOOD PRACTICES?- As the final week of school for term two comes to a close, the Minister for Education Filipe Bole is reminding teachers of good practices they must take heed of.

4.?WORK STARTS ON INFANT SCHOOLS?- Construction of the first two of six infant schools to cater for students living in remote and maritime area is in progress. One of the schools is in Bua and at the moment, contractors are about to complete work on the building structure.

 

5.?WOMEN ARE THE DRIVING FORCE BEHIND SMEs -?Women are the driving force behind the small and micro enterprises (SME?s) sector. And they have been found to be more credit worthy, says the Reserve Bank of Fiji governor Barry Whiteside.

 

6.?YOUTHS ARE A FUEL OF OUR COUNTRYS PROGRESS: TUITUBOU -?Fiji?s youth is an important catalyst that fuels our country?s progress, says Commissioner Central Lieutenant-Colonel Laisenia Tuitubou.

1.?FREE HEALTH CHECK AT HIBISCUS FESTIVAL

In efforts to create awareness on the risks of non-communicable diseases, the Ministry of Health will conduct free medical check-ups and health screenings at the 2013 Vodafone Hibiscus Festival.

Minister for Health Doctor Neil Sharma said this was a great opportunity for everyone to access free medical check up, detection of diseases and follow-up on health checks.

?Many people are dying young from non-communicable diseases and through this awareness drives and free medical check-ups we are able to involve everyone from the homes, villages and communities,? Dr Sharma said.

?Wellness through healthy lifestyles is the key to preventing many non-communicable diseases that plaque the Fijian community so we need to change our lifestyle, eat healthy foods and go for regular check-ups.?

Dr Sharma highlighted that early intervention and changing bad habits could save money, time and most importantly lives.

Health inspectors will be assigned to monitor food being sold at the festival with ultimate aim of promoting wellness among our citizens.

The 2013 Vodafone Hibiscus Festival theme is ?Pacific Wellness? and the Ministry of Health with the Fiji College of Medicine will partnering to bring the Fijian community wellness approach towards their health.

Meanwhile, the ministry is working with the Education Ministry to monitor food sold in school canteens.

?Parents need to mindful of what type of food they feed their children with, avoid buying fast-food but rather prepare a healthy meal for your child,? Dr Sharma said.

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2.?HEALTH MINISTRY AVAILS DRUGS AT CHEAPER PRICE

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Patients who have undergone kidney transplant are once again urged to register with the Ministry of Health?s bulk purchase scheme at Jerusalem Road to have access to medication at a much cheaper price.

?Registering with scheme gives people a chance to buy expensive kidney transplant medications at a fraction of the cost,? Minister for Health Dr Neil Sharma said.

?Some people have undergone kidney transplant and are still getting their medications from overseas which costs them a lot of money since they have to pay VAT and freight charges as well.

?But if they register with us then the ministry through its bulk purchase scheme will purchase these medications in bulk which eventually means the price will go down significantly.?

This development signifies government?s effort to provide affordable medical services to all Fijians.

So far only 13 people have registered with the scheme. ?If people register with us on time then we can plan their medication and dosage as well?, Dr. Sharma said.

The medications available with the bulk purchase scheme are as follows:

 

Description Unit Price
Tacrolimus Capsules 1mg $1.77
Mycophenolate Meofetil 500mg tablets $0.66
Cyclosporine Capsules 100mg $2.68

 

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3.?TEACHERS, TAKE HEED OF GOOD PRACTICES

As the final week of school for term two comes to a close, the Minister for Education Filipe Bole is reminding teachers of good practices they must take heed of.

?Leave behind clean and well secured classrooms, laboratories, workshops and compound as you leave for the two weeks holidays. Head Teachers and Principals must leave contact addresses with their education district offices and take time to pay visits to your respective schools during the holidays,? Mr Bole said.

Teachers, who have been assigned the responsibility to look after sports teams and other extra ? curricular activities, have also been reminded to closely monitor students and ensure their safety is priority.

?There will be sports activities beginning this weekend for secondary schools and I am reminding you teachers to make it an enjoyable experience for the students and their parents,? Mr Bole said.

?Monitor your students well and have a roll call before and after engaging in organized activities. Students safety and security must be your priority. Ensure ?students reach their homes before dark.?

Mr Bole also cautioned teachers of their behavior while on school holidays.

?Teachers, while you enjoy your two weeks break, be reminded that you remain teachers during the holidays so behave appropriately. Plan your movements well so you are able to report back to school on time which is the second day of September,? the minister said.

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4.?WORK STARTS ON INFANT SCHOOLS

Construction of the first two of six infant schools to cater for students living in remote and maritime area is in progress.

One of the schools is in Bua and at the moment, contractors are about to complete work on the building structure.

?I expect completion at the end of next month,? Ministry for Education permanent secretary, Dr Brij Lal said.

?The second one is in Yasawa. Materials have arrived there and at the moment workers are operating from the village community hall so lessons are going on. Work on the new building is in progress and I expect this to be completed by the end of this year.?

Government announced the establishment of six infant schools in its 2012 Budget to expand education access to the less fortunate, decrease the drop-out rate and improve facilities, especially for those in the outer islands and rural areas.

Dr Lal said the establishment of these infant schools was for students in Class One to Three and Kindergarten so that they no longer had to attend boarding schools.

?Children at the tender schooling age of six, seven and eight need to spend quality time with their parents,? the permanent secretary said.

?Work in Bua is progressing well because the weather had been favourable.

The infant school in Bua will start off with about 35 students while the one in Yasawa will cater for about 20 children.

?Work on the third infant school will start in Cakaudrove soon. This will start after the tender processes are fulfilled,? Dr Lal said.

The Education Ministry will also construct infant schools in Lekutu, Wainunu and Vatubalavu.

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5.?WOMEN ARE THE DRIVING FORCE BEHIND SMEs?

Women are the driving force behind the small and micro enterprises (SME?s) sector.

And they have been found to be more credit worthy, says the Reserve Bank of Fiji governor Barry Whiteside.

As he launched the 2013 Fiji Development Bank?s Small Business Awards, which celebrates in 10th anniversary this year, Mr Whiteside said studies ?found that women were more likely than men to pay back their loans with interest.

?There is one micro-finance enterprise operating in Fiji, and I am sure across the region, that would lend to ladies for the very reason that women are more likely to pay back their loan with interest,? the RBF governor said.

?South Pacific Business Development currently has nearly 3900 lady clients in its Fijian micro loans portfolio and a repayment rate is in excess of 95 per cent.?

The FBD awards on?November 14, 2013?will have seven categories: agriculture, tourism, wholesale and retail, professional and business services, manufacturing, a best business practice award and a special award.

Mr Whiteside said Government in the 2012 Budget introduced the SME Credit Guarantee Scheme with the aim of encouraging and supporting small and medium sized local businesses.

?Under this Scheme, Government will provide a guarantee for up to 50 per cent of the outstanding principal amount of any defaulted SME business loans, up to a limit of $50,000,? Mr Whiteside said.

The latest data shows that 338 SME?s already qualify through the commercial banks amounting to a total of $18.8m.

?Together the Fijian Government and the RBF have been building an enabling and supportive environment that is conducive to economic growth for the business community,? Mr Whiteside said.

FDB chief executive officer, Deve Toganivalu, said it took a lot for small businesses to survive because of limitations to their operations such as limited overdraft and credit facilities.

The bank, he said, goes beyond its role of extending loans and in fact gives and grows knowledge because money follows knowledge.

?The theme that we have chosen for this year is Create. Innovate. Grow. The conversion of a business idea into a series of activities that eventually leads to the creation of an enterprise is the first part ? to create,? Mr Toganivalu said.

?To outwit and outsell competitors, to remain relevant and sustainable, this enterprise must innovate.?

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6.?YOUTHS ARE A FUEL OF OUR COUNTRYS PROGRESS: TUITUBOU

Fiji?s youth is an important catalyst that fuels our country?s progress, says Commissioner Central Lieutenant-Colonel Laisenia Tuitubou.

?This means that for Fiji to move forward we must continue to prepare and engage our youth to be a part of this journey that Fiji has taken towards reforms,? Lt-Col Tuitubou said when closing the National Youth Day Celebration in Nausori?on Tuesday.

These reforms include the lowering of the voting age to 18 years.

?This will ensure their voices and choices are considered in the formation of the next Government,? Lt-Col Tuitubou said.

He however, cautioned that youthful energy must be conditioned and directed positively.

?The energy that youth positively exert must be guided and provided with appropriate conditions and support in order for that energy to be sustained and directed positively,? the Commissioner Central said.

The Ministry of Youth and Sports prioritises youth for a good reason.

?Census in 2007 indicated that Fiji is a youthful country. More than 65 per cent of the population are under 35 years of age,? Lt-Col Tuituboiu ?said.

?The bulk of the working age population that are unemployed are youths.?

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