Fiji Coalition Government plan to revamp services

The old wing of the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva. Picture: ATU RASEA/FT FILE

The people’s coalition Government’s plans to revamp medical and hospital services, improving education and strengthening sports programs were highlighted by President Ratu Wiliame Katonivere when he opened the 2023-2024 Session of Parliament yesterday.

He said on the health front, there were plans for the revival of medical and hospital services and functional divisional command centres would help strengthen service delivery and coordination of grass-roots health programs.

Rau Wiliame also said emphasis would be given to provide better access to electricity, internet connectivity and improvement of water and services at divisional and sub-divisional hospitals.

He said the Government would also look into addressing the high prevalence of NCDs, which accounted for 85 per cent of all deaths in Fiji.

For the education sector, Ratu Wiliame said a major undertaking was the establishment of an Education Commission to review the entire education system in the country, following which an education summit would be convened.

He also said the Government was moving to rebuild Fiji’s relationship with the University of the South Pacific (USP) while maintaining synergy with the University of Fiji (UoF) and the Fiji National University (FNU) in meeting labour market demands.

In that regard, he said youth would be given improved access to knowledge, skills and training to effectively participate and contribute to nation building.

The President said sport facilities would be enhanced, and the Rural and Outer Island Development Programme would be revived to boost socio-economic development in rural settings, including improved co-ordination for disaster preparedness, response, recovery operations and mitigation.

To protect the rights of women, Ratu Wiliame said the Government would continue its efforts to end violence against women and girls, and promote women’s economic empowerment.

Other programs such as poverty benefits, social pension, disability schemes and the bus fare subsidy would continue.

Ratu Wiliame also said the Government would host the Pacific Week of Agriculture in March alongside regional agricultural leaders and experts to promote alliances and mobilise donor support.

He also confirmed the Public Works Department (PWD) would be reintroduced.

Its key priority would be to maintain and upgrade rural roads and river crossings, as well as rural water, electrification and sanitation services.

Ratu Wiliame also confirmed the media legislation would be reviewed to strengthen freedom of the press and the peoples’ right to information.

Two new public holidays announced earlier – to commemorate the girmityas and celebrate the life of Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna – would be gazetted soon.

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