Over 1,000 await eye surgery amidst COVID-19 delays

January 9, 2024 5:10 pm

CWM Hospital Eye Clinic in Suva

Over 1,000 people are waiting for eye surgery, and new cases continue to be registered at the CWM Hospital Eye Clinic in Suva.

The majority of these 1, 000 cases are from the Central Division highlighting a pressing concern for eye health, with COVID-19 significantly contributing to delays in operations.

Head of the Clinic Dr Luisa Cikamatana says currently their priority is to address the backlog of cases to achieve a more equitable approach to patient care.

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Dr Cikamatana adds the Health Ministry plans to allocate a specific week exclusively for surgeries to reduce the number of pending cases.

“So last year we did 1600, but still we have the backlog to look after. We still need to catch up with our backlog. We can’t stop our patients for emergencies. We just have to rearrange our services to cater for those extra theater.”

Pacific Eye Institute Country Manager, Kirti Prasad, says they are actively addressing both new and longstanding cases, while also advocating for early intervention strategies to reduce pressure on surgical services.

“We need to do more screening to ensure that they come in and get diagnosed and are on the list but we need to have more surgeries and we need them to actually come up.”

The Health Ministry is looking forward to carrying out comprehensive research to make data-based decisions in improving eye care services in Fiji.