Fiji’s healthcare system under pressure

May 19, 2024 4:46 pm

The Fiji Medical Association highlights significant challenges facing Fiji’s healthcare infrastructure.

Fiji Medical Association President Dr. Bhasharat Munshi pointed out during the association mini-conference yesterday that many of the major hospitals, particularly in urban areas, are outdated.

Dr. Munshi noted that Fiji’s population has grown substantially, with a large portion now residing in urban and peri-urban areas, increasing the pressure on these ageing healthcare facilities.

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He referenced a study conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic, which suggested that an optimal number of hospital beds is around 300 per 100,000 people. By this standard, and considering Fiji’s population of about one million, the country is short by 1,500 to 2,000 beds to meet optimal healthcare needs.

“This is factoring everything into it. So, to get another 2,000 beds, $2.23 million by 2,000 beds, you get that figure. So, we need at least 4 billion dollars, or four and a half billion dollars, just for infrastructure alone. This is not accounting for human resources and all of that.”

Dr. Munshi underscored the massive financial requirements to achieve the desired level of healthcare infrastructure and the need for strategic planning to address these challenges effectively.

The Colonial War Memorial (CWM) Hospital was built in 1923, and, despite some extensions and additions, the core structure remains old. Similarly, Lautoka Hospital, built in 1975, was designed for a much smaller population than what Fiji has today.