1. BRINGING HEALTH SERVICES CLOSER TO THE PEOPLE – Government’s commitment to making health services easily accessible to all Fijians today saw the opening of the relocated Nagatagata Nursing Station in Tavua.
2. MINISTRY PROVIDES REHABILITATION PROGRAMS FOR 14 JUVENILES – The Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation through its rehabilitation program aims to provide holistic development opportunities for the juveniles at the Juvenile Rehabilitation and Development Centre in Samabula, Suva.
3. EVAW TASKFORCE EMBARKS ON NEW STRATEGIES – The Interagency Taskforce on Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW) has adopted a holistic and inclusive approach to implement new strategies to eliminate violence against women and children.
4. MINISTRY TO SEND MORE SEASONAL WORKERS TO AUSTRALIA – The Ministry of Employment, Productivity & Industrial Relations will be sending more seasonal workers to Australia through the Seasonal Worker Program this month.
- BRINGING HEALTH SERVICES CLOSER TO THE PEOPLE
Government’s commitment to making health services easily accessible to all Fijians today saw the opening of the relocated Nagatagata Nursing Station in Tavua.
The Nagatagata Nursing station which was opened by the Hon. Minister for Health and Medical Services, Jone Usamate serves a total population of 544, consisting of 4 villages, 4 settlements and a primary school.
“This new site has provided an opportunity for us to separate the clinic from the Nurse’s Quarters which will create a healthy working environment for our staff and the members of the community we serve”, Minister Usamate said.
Minister Usamate also acknowledged the contribution of the Ministry of for Works, Transport and Public Utilities and the Ministry of Lands & Mineral Resources for their expertise in the planning, construction and efficient renewal of the current land lease.
“Government strives to ensure that we provide the right to health enshrined in our Constitution. Health is a priority of Government,” Minister Usamate said.
A resident of Koro Village, Mr Senirusi Drauyara said that this new nursing station will be cost effective and is thankful for this new facility.
“Before we used to travel to Nadarivatu to access the health facility and hiring transport is costly. The Nagatagata nursing station will provide much easier access to us and to the schools nearby,” Mr Drauyara said.
The relocation of this Nursing Station was necessary due to several reasons including the expiry of land leases, ongoing water issues and the lack of staff residential privacy at the previous site due to the old clinic model and its location within the village boundary.
- MINISTRY PROVIDES REHABILITATION PROGRAMS FOR 14 JUVENILES
The Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation through its rehabilitation program aims to provide holistic development opportunities for the juveniles at the Juvenile Rehabilitation and Development Centre in Samabula, Suva.
This was highlighted by the Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Rosy Akbar during the official handover of a new vehicle to the Centre this week.
Minister Akbar reiterated that through the rehabilitation programs, the juveniles are given the opportunity to complete their education and return to their families and communities. Currently, the Ministry looks after 14 juveniles at this Centre.
“The Centre provides them with opportunities in education, vocational training and personal development skills. Through mentoring and counselling we help these young men to regain their confidence to understand their responsibility and acquire the skills to live an empowered life and reunite with their families and communities,” Minister Akbar said.
“The Ministry will continue to reach out to the rural communities, in informal settlements, schools and communities to raise awareness on such issues. There is also a need for families to develop a bond so that family members do not go astray. When we strengthen our family network half of our problems will be gone.”
Meanwhile, the new vehicle provided to the Centre will assist the welfare officers in transporting the boys to school, attending to court cases and conducting home visits when the need arises. The Ministry has also launched messaging on some of its vehicles to raise awareness on child protection issues.
“Repeated messaging is one of the key strategies of the Ministry to promote positive behaviours and moral values. We will continue to embark on similar initiatives in the future to inform the general people about the support systems available to address the issues related to family development and wellbeing,” Minister Akbar elaborated.
Previously known as the Boys Centre, the Juvenile Rehabilitation and Development Centre was developed way back in 1929. In 2010, the Centre was relocated to Domain Road in Nasese and just last year, the Government had provided a new building for the Centre which is now located in Lakeba Street, Samabula.
- EVAW TASKFORCE EMBARKS ON NEW STRATEGIES
The Interagency Taskforce on Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW) has adopted a holistic and inclusive approach to implement new strategies to eliminate violence against women and children.
The Taskforce met on Monday this week, chaired by the Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Rosy Akbar.
The Task force comprises of representatives from Department of Women, Fiji Police Force, Ministry of Health, the Fiji Police Sexual Offences Unit, UNFPA, Ministry of i-Taukei Affairs, Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre and Non-Government Organisations, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, The Australian Aid Program, Empower Pacific and the Pacific Centre for Peace-Building.
Minister Akbar said the meeting has enabled the Task force to look at the way forward to advance the rights and interests of women and children in Fiji.
“This was the third meeting for EVAW Task force and it provides a multi-sectoral platform for all the service providers and stakeholders to work together. I am pleased with the positive discussions we had during the meeting this week and we had focused on five major programs that will be implemented with urgency. The first agenda we looked at was the review of the Zero Tolerance Violence Free Community Program. The review will be undertaken by the consultant, who will prepare the report with the recommendations to enhance the coordination of the violence free community programs in Fiji.
“The Ministry will also sign a new Memorandum of Agreement with the Fiji Police Force. I am pleased to say that we are expected to sign the agreement by November this year, which would further strengthen the partnership between the Ministry of Women and the Fiji Police Force. The third strategy, the Task force is adamant to pursue with urgency is the development and implementation of the National Service Protocol.
“Once established this service protocol will improve the provision and delivery of services to victims of domestic violence and individuals vulnerable to domestic abuse or are likely to suffer harm due to physical, emotional or psychological abuse or neglect and to their families. It will increase collaboration between the Fiji Police, Ministry of Health, Judicial Department and other social services to ensure appropriate provision of health care services, timely investigations of reports of domestic violence, timely prosecution of cases and appropriate counselling is provided,” Minister Akbar explained.
Minister Akbar said that plans are also in progress for the Ministry to host a High Level Policy Dialogue with Members of Parliament.
“The objective of the forum would be to provide the members of Parliament with an overview of the current situation on Gender Inequality including the economic, social, health and structural inequality experienced by women in Fiji. They will also be provided with a briefing on the current initiatives and the way forward to advance gender equality in Fiji. This would also be an opportunity for the Ministry to pledge for the commitment and support of the members of Parliament towards implementation of the National Gender Policy,” Minister Akbar elaborated.
The Task force also looked at the activities and awareness programs that would be coordinated during the 16 Days of Activism which will be commemorated from the 25th November to 10th December 2015.
The Task force has plans to increase reach out to the rural communities with awareness programs on family development, women empowerment and child protection.
4. MINISTRY TO SEND MORE SEASONAL WORKERS TO AUSTRALIA
The Ministry of Employment, Productivity & Industrial Relations will be sending more seasonal workers to Australia through the Seasonal Worker Program this month.
In addition to the 4 seasonal workers contracted in July by Plant Grow Pick Pty Ltd, 15 female and 15 male candidates have signed their contracts with this company, which is based in Queensland, Australia.
In preparation for the type of work they will be engaged in, the group completed their pre-departure orientation this week.
As the company looks at recruiting more workers, the Director, Mr Walter Fangatua said the outstanding performance of the 4 initial workers, has encouraged Plant Grow Pick to recruit additional seasonal workers from Fiji.
Mr Fangatua was in the country last month, discussing employment opportunities available with Plant Grow Pick. He urged the Ministry to continue selecting workers who are hardworking, honest and able to follow instructions, so as to maintain Fiji’s good record.
The Minister for Employment, Productivity & Industrial Relations Hon Jioji Konrote said, following the success of the first 4 workers to Australia, Fiji can expect an increase in the demand for our seasonal workers in the near future.
Minister Konrote highlighted that the success of our workers indicates the robustness of Fiji’s selection criteria. The stringent 2-tier criteria developed by the Ministry encompasses background checks, basic education, and fitness tests to mitigate risks associated with long hours and heavy work conditions.
“The Ministry is monitoring the progress of the seasonal work schemes, and will continue to prepare Fijians professionally to maintain the outstanding performance displayed by the first group. In our arrangements with the employers, we strive to ensure that workers’ health and safety is maintained and they return to Fiji safely,” he added.
Minister Konrote thanked the initial group, Iniasi Toganivalu, Isimeli Koroi, Kameli Cakau, and Vilivo Cakau, for their outstanding performance and good character which has opened wide the doors for other unemployed Fijians.
He reiterates the challenge now is for all other workers to continue the high standards set.