CAPTION: Left -Acting Chief Pharmacist Apolosi Vosanibola explains about the bulk storage to Deputy High Commissioner for Tuvalu H.E. Avafoa Irata, High Commissioner for Kiribati H.E. Reteta Mikuata Rimon and David Johnson.
1. REGIONAL COUNTRIES SHOW INTEREST IN PURCHASING BULK MEDICAL SUPPLIES FROM FIJI – Officials representing Pacific island countries have expressed interest in purchasing bulk quantities of pharmaceutical medical items from Fiji.
2. GROUP INSURANCE BENEFICIAL – PS PUBLIC SERVICE – The Public Service Commission’s (PSC) Group Insurance Scheme is proving to be highly beneficial to its members.
3. UNIVERSITY GEARS UP FOR PACIFIC SCIENCE INTER-CONGRESS – The University of the South Pacific is getting ready to host the 12th Pacific Science Inter-Congress (PSIC) this July.
4. WESTERN FARMERS URGED TO PLANT MORE CASSAVA FOR EXPORT – Farmers in the Western division have been urged to plant cassava for commercial purposes given the potential for an increase in cassava exports.
1 PACIFIC ISLAND COUNTRIES SHOW INTEREST IN PURCHASING BULK MEDICAL SUPPLIES FROM FIJI
Officials representing Pacific island countries have expressed interest in purchasing bulk quantities of pharmaceutical medical items from Fiji.
Government officials from Kiribati, Nauru and Tuvalu visited the Fiji Pharmaceutical Services and Biomedical Services in Vatuwaqa today to look at operations at the centre and look at ways of strengthening inter-regional cooperation through the health sector.
Fiji’s Acting Chief Pharmacist Apolosi Vosanibola said the visit is expected to enhance co-operation between Pacific Island countries and for them to look into the prospects of purchasing quality medical supplies that will assist them in providing better health care services to the public.
“We provide bulk purchase supplies to private and public sectors and we also ensure that we procure quality medication for all Fijians,” Mr Vosanibola said.
“We are also want to create choices for these countries to consider purchasing bulk supplies from Fiji at lower costs and provide training for their personnel in the areas of pharmaceutical services instead of going abroad,” he said.
Some of the products that Fiji can provide to Pacific Island Countries include dental materials, clinical products, medications and biomedical equipment.
Deputy High Commissioner for Tuvalu to Fiji H.E. Avafoa Irata said the provision of training personnel in Fiji would save costs for his country.
“We normally send our health personals for training overseas however with the opportunities being offered in Fiji, will definitely save costs,” H.E. Avafoa Irata said.
Meanwhile, the Kiribati High Commissioner to Fiji H.E. Reteta Mikuata Rimon pointed out that most countries in the Pacific are being used as dumping sites for second hand materials.
Mr Vosanibola highlighted that inorder to ensure the highest quality of medicine is received in Fiji, the World Health Organisations carries out its own tests while local technicians send samples to both Australia and New Zealand.
The teams also toured the Fiji Pharmaceutical Services station and were briefed on the various operations on storage of medical supplies.
2 GROUP INSURANCE BENEFICIAL – PS PUBLIC SERVICE
The Public Service Commission’s (PSC) Group Insurance Scheme is proving to be highly beneficial to its members.
PSC permanent secretary, Parmesh Chand made the comment as the PSC coordinated the payment of payouts to dependents of two civil servants who passed away while being members of the Scheme.
Mr Chand in handing over the cheques said that while no amount of money would bring back their loved ones, the proceeds would help the families in terms of their sustenance and children’s education.
He paid tribute to the two late gentlemen for their effort in joining the Scheme many years ago. He also called on current civil servants to join the Scheme as this was a worthwhile investment.
The Public Service Group Insurance Scheme was initiated in 1989 following Cabinet approval. The scheme entails Life cover and Health cover and PSC facilitates and coordinates all matters pertaining to the insurance with the Insurers.
For the last three years, the total payout has amounted to $964,000. In 2010, the total payout was $246,000, in 2011 it was $345,000 and in 2012 it was $373,000. The pay out this year currently stands at $174,000.
3 UNIVERSITY GEARS UP FOR PACIFIC SCIENCE INTER-CONGRESS
The University of the South Pacific is getting ready to host the 12th Pacific Science Inter-Congress (PSIC) this July.
The inter-congress is expected to attract approximately 600 international and regional participants for this important event.
The 12th PSIC event is organised in collaboration with the Pacific Science Association (PSA), a regional, non-governmental, scholarly organisation that seeks to advance science and technology in support of sustainable development in the Asia-Pacific region.
The university’s role as the local organising committee is critical to achieving the objectives and expectations of this important event.
Led by the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and International), Professor John Bythell, final preparations are now underway with exactly two months to go before the conference proper.
“This is the second time that the University is hosting the Inter-Congress with the first one back in 1997, and we are expecting a good turnout,” said Professor John Bythell.
“Given the magnitude of the event, and excellent opportunities for collaboration, networking and advertising, we are also calling on interested stakeholders to partner with the University to sponsor specific areas/topics or sessions relating to Human Security.”
In 2011, the University of the South Pacific won the bid to host the 12th Pacific Science Inter-Congress (PSIC) with the overarching theme of “Science for Human Security & Sustainable Development in the Pacific Islands and the Rim.”
Since its inception in 1920 in Honolulu, PSA has convened Pacific Science Congresses and Inter-Congress meetings in different venues throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
Eleven Pacific Science Inter-Congresses have been held at four year intervals in-between Congresses with the first meeting in Kuala Lumpur in 1969 and the most recent in Tahiti in 2009.
The focus of the 12th Inter Congress includes physical, biological, and social sciences and encompasses terrestrial, marine, atmospheric, social/cultural subjects and approaches in the Pacific region.
The broad sub-themes of this meeting include:
- · Biodiversity, Ecosystem Services, and Resilient Societies;
- · Information and Communications Technologies for Sustainable Development;
- · Food, Water, Energy and Health;
- · Culture and Gender;
- · Governance, Economic Development and Public Policy;
- · Climate Change; and
- · Oceans
Strategic partnerships have already been established for the Inter-Congress and these include the Fiji Government, the European Union and UNESCO.
Major sponsors that have come on board include Fiji Airways, Tourism Fiji and other sponsors include the Holiday Inn, and Coca Cola Amatil Fiji Limited.
At the Inter-Congress, participants will be presenting in one of the seven sessions under the seven themes of the conference, with special sessions running parallel to these.
“This meeting is an opportunity to discuss the various aspects related to the importance of Human Security in the region, and to create a platform for academics, practitioners, researchers, scientists and students to discuss research findings pertaining to the overall theme of Science for Human Security & Sustainable Development,” added Professor Bythell.
The Fijian Government is part of the organising committee on the invite of the USP which is the Chair of local organising committee.
4 WESTERN FARMERS URGED TO PLANT MORE CASSAVA FOR EXPORT
Farmers in the Western division have been urged to plant cassava for commercial purposes given the potential for an increase in cassava exports.
Agriculture Marketing Authority Sale and Marketing Manager Alifereti Yaya said farmers in the western division are not taking advantage of the establishment of two processing plants in the division.
“Right now there is a shortage of cassava that is currently required by the two factories because there are no cassava plantations in the western division,” he said.
“I would like to urge farmers because they have all the land in the world which is lying idle but they just need to do is plant a few sticks and harvest after a few months.”
The authority says that the growth in demand has forced the authority to source more cassava for export from Savusavu and Taveuni.
The authority says that other incentives include taking on board freight costs to mitigate other costs involved for export to overseas markets mainly in Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America.
“We are looking at other new markets however with the lack in supply all of Government’s plans and investments are stalled,” Yaya said.
Fiji needs to meet the demand of 60 tonnes of cassava per month to be able to export it overseas.
In 2012, Fiji earned more than $1.2 million from 800 tonnes of cassava.