Caption: (From left) Minister for Health Dr Neil Sharma, Swami Tadananda, Secretary of the Ramakrishna Mission, Acting Australian High Commissioner Glenn Miles and Swami Aparokshananda, President of the Ramakrishna Mission. Photo: MARGARET NAQIRI.
The new Australian-funded Telemedicine Unit at the Sarada Medical Centre in Nadi on Friday 7 March brings affordable health care closer to surrounding communities.
The Telemedicine Unit uses telecommunications and mobile technology to consult with doctors in reputable hospitals in Australia, New Zealand, India and the United States of America.
“This $100,000 telemedicine facility will help to answer patient demands and increase health care access,” Acting Australian High Commissioner Glenn Miles told guests at the opening.
“Working closely with the Ministry of Health, the facility will also help reduce the burden on urban-based hospitals, increase cost-efficiency and improve service quality.”
Since opening in 2012, the Sarada Medical Centre has served 9,000 people at a fee of only $5, with fees waived and medicine provided for the very poor.
According to FCDP Team Leader Michael Brownjohn, the Telemedicine Unit will provide access to diagnostic and intervention tools that were not widely available to people in the Western Division.
“This service will link the Sarada Medical Centre, the Ministry of Health and other local health care providers with access to a range of specialist health care professionals from around the world,” Mr Brownjohn said.
FCDP and the Ramakrishna Mission voiced mutual hopes that telemedicine will improve health outcomes and save lives through high quality, affordable health care.
“This ICT-based initiative to avail remote specialist medical consultancy for our people has a huge potential in Fiji, especially for the poor and needy,” said Swami Tadananda, Secretary of the Ramakrishna Mission, which runs the Sarada Medical Centre.
“We are happy that a humble beginning is being made and hope that with the support of all, we will continue to develop this project for the welfare of all our people. We are also thankful for the support provided by the Fiji Community Development Program team.”