CAPTION: Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama congratulates a home owner after handing over keys in Natunuku village in Ba today. Photo: MINFO.




Dairy and sugar cane farmers in the western division especially those from Ba today thanked government for its vision in reviving the dairy industry.

Farmers representative Liyakat Ali said he could not be more happy as they now have a supplementary income from their cattle.

Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama opened the milk chilling machine today.

“I thank Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama for coming down to Ba and thinking about farmers this side (western division),” he said.

“I have 12 cattles and I just use the milk at home and sell it in the market or from home just like other farmers here in Ba but this new chilling machine will help us a lot.”

The Prime Minister said farmers need to start thinking outside the box if Fiji was to progress.

“We consume 77 million litres on milk annually but we do not produce half of the consumption demand here locally,” Prime Minister Bainimarama said.

“But I am sure that you will assist other Fijians in bringing down our dairy product import bills and buy more Fijian made products.”

The chilling machine is based at the Southern Cross Foods Limited in Yalalevu, Ba.

The Prime Minister also handed over 80 milk cans and 50 cattle’s to the farmers on behalf of SC Foods.





Cattle farmers in the Western Division have been urged to take advantage of the new milk chilling machine in Yalalevu, Ba.

Director Animal Health of the department of agriculture, Tomasi Tunabuna said there was a huge potential in the western division in dairy farming which has 12665 cane farmers who own cattle.

“I would like to urge farmers in the western division to take advantage of this facility to get extra cash for your families,” he said.

“The expansion of the dairy industry to the western division was conceived to take advantage of the existing milking cows and infrastructure in cane belt areas.”

The potential milk production in the western division is projected to be around 8.3 million litres annually.

The new chilling facility was opened today by the Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.

Mr Tunabuna said the agriculture department will continue to assist farmers who are looking into tapping in dairy farming.

He said Fiji Dairy Limited was paying 90 cents per litre which was high and the increase in production would see a decrease in imported milk for local consumption.




Tears of joy flowed freely at Natunuku Village in Ba this afternoon as five families received new homes.


Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama handed over the homes to the five families today.


The homes of the five families were destroyed by Cyclone Evan in December last year.


“We cannot thank you enough for what you and your government has done for us,” said one family owner.


“We have always seen you on television and the newspapers but we will never forget this day for we have been blessed by your presence here to open our homes.”


Prime Minister Bainimarama’s visit also marked the first ever visit by any Fijian Prime Minister to the village.


Natunuku village headman Mosese Navara said the whole village supported government’s reforms and direction in moving to a prosperous future.


“We support your government and hope that you will continue to lead our nation to many more wonderful things for all Fijians,” Navara said.


Nutunuku is famous in Fiji and is known as the Lapita Village.






The Turaga na Tui Tavua Ratu Jale Bokini today said all he wanted from the new constitution was the security of i-Taukei lands and thanked government for incorporating the issue of land in the new draft constitution.

He made the comment in Ba today where the Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama opened the first ever milk chilling machine in the western division which will be based in Ba.

“I think this is a good constitution and because our land is now more secure than ever, we cannot ask for anything more,” he said.

“I thank Prime Minister Bainimarama for looking after the interests of all Fijians and i-Taukei land too because this has always been an issue even before independence.”

According to figures from the Ministry of Lands, i-Taukei land owners now own 91 percent of land in Fiji while freehold and State land make up the other 9 percent.




Eighteen community dieticians from around the country were reminded today to focus on wellness concept while being presented with the Dietitians Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) Toolkit.


This NCD toolkit has been designed to tackle NCD’s in a renewed manner to conduct screenings on cholesterol, weight control and the prevention of anemia.


Fiji’s National advisor for Non-communicable diseases Doctor Isimeli Tukana said ” we need to change people diets into wellness”.


“One of the major problems in Fiji which is unhealthy eating habits is the leading cause of Non-Communicable diseases,” Dr Tukana said.


“We need to reach out to our communities which is the reason we have the toolkits to create wellness and change the people’s mindset to move away from unhealthy living.”


Dr Tukana encouraged health workers to work with nurses and doctors in the various health centres to provide early interventions to maintain nutrition wellness.


Australian Aid Program Acting Senior Program Manager and Bilateral Health officer Margaret Vuiyasawa said Fiji is well aware of the burden of NCD and the challenges it poses to the health sector.


“These kits will effectively allow dieticians to screen people and provide appropriate interventions for cardiovascular risks and anaemia,” Mrs Vuiyasawa said.


AusAID offered funding for the purchase of the kits with amount $54,000 through the Fiji Health Sector Support Program to the Ministry of Health.


Meanwhile National Adviser Dietetics and Nutrition Anaisi Delai said from the national surveys undertaken it has been noted that most people in the country are lacking nutritional meals.


“Only about 13 percent maintain a healthy diet which includes fruits and vegetables, 44 percent of people have high cholesterol and 51 percent are overweight and obese,” Mr Delai said.


Mrs Delai highlighted that this is one of the areas that the Nutrition department will focus on to ensure healthy population.


The department is expected to release results from the National Nutritional survey next year which is conducted every 10 years.




New initiatives in Pharmaceutical procument to reduce health expenses

The Ministry of Health will soon be sourcing Anti Rejection tablets from reputable suppliers to assist patients who have undergone kidney transplant operations in India.

This was through an arrangement with the Bulk Purchase Scheme at the Fiji Pharmaceutical & Biomedical Services Centre at Jerusalem Road.

Minister for Health Dr Neil Sharma said government intervention was necessary to ensure accessibility of affordable medication for patients who were purchasing expensive medicines.

“ The objective is to assist patients who are sourcing their own supplies of medicines that they are not able to afford therefore compromising the wholeobjective of the government supporting patients for kidney transplant in India,” Dr Sharma said.

“Through this scheme the ministry can also make sure that medication is sourced from reputable suppliers while consolidating requirements of patients in Fiji.”

Dr Sharma is calling on all patients to register at the Bulk Purchase Office at Nabua with the following information; Patient Name, age, medicines strength and dosage, and their contact details.

“The Ministry of Health will open the registration on the 15th of April and close on the 30th of April after which procurement of the supplies will be undertaken for the new registered patients,” Dr. Sharma added.



New health initiative to reduce cholesterol levels

The Ministry of Health has introduced the simvastatin tablets as the initiation therapy to reduce cholesterol levels of new patients in hospital wards.

Cholesterol has been found to be one of the contributing factors to many cardiac diseases leading fatalities.

Minister for Health Dr Neil Sharma said introducing statins for new patients with high cholesterol levels, strengthens the treatment course to curb other associated costs which may result from complicated cardiac diseases because of uncontrollable cholesterol levels.

“The health ministry aims to introduce the statins at this level of initiation but patients need to continue to take treatment from the private sector,” Dr. Sharma said.

Dr. Sharma said the therapy  will be introduced at the divisional hospitals while the retaill price for the simvastatin tablet will cost a patient a minimum of $2 per month.

Despite this initiative, Dr. Sharma said the ministry will continue to promote wellness with the aim to reduce or prevent high cholesterol by ensuring regular exercises and right diet.


CWM hospital undergoes renovations to ensure quality services

The Colonial War Memorial (CWM) hospital will undergo repairs and renovations worth $9million in a phased manner within the next two years as part of the Health ministry’s efforts to develop CWM into a tertiary level hospital.

Minister for Health Dr Neil Sharma said the “Pacific Building Solution” has offered a three-phased development of the hospital with four additional operating theatres with intensive care and coronary care facilities.

“The East wing would be developed into a diagnostic and therapeutre unit while customer facilities will include cafeteria as well,” Dr. Sharma said.

Dr Sharma said patients in the greater Suva area are encouraged to use their local area facility for common sickness but after hours emergency will be treated at CWM hospital.

Dr. Sharma added the ministry has adopted a new “Triage” method of seeing patients in hospitals.

“Once a patient arrives, he or she will be checked by the nurses and the doctors will be seeing the patients accordingly. Patients are treated based on medical needs and priority”, Dr. Sharma said.

Minister Sharma highlighted that people should be mindful that waiting time at public hospitals in America is 12 hours while in countries like Australia its 10-12 hours.

In order to boost services, 7 new additional specialists are recruited for CWM.

“These are done to see that service delivery is improved and at the same time members of the public are provided quality medical care. These specialists are specialized in areas of pathology, orthopedic and vascular surgeons, anaesthetists and emergency surgeons”, Dr. Sharma said.

Meanwhile, the Minister has re-iterated that only one relative will be allowed to be with patients who are admitted in the hospitals after it was noted in the past that two or three members of the family accompany the patient and stay with them in hospital and possibly cross infect others.

“This is purely done to stop people from entering into restricted areas and wandering around in hospitals. Hospital equipments have been stolen in the past. We believe all these issues will be addressed”, Minister Sharma added.


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