Health Minister stresses need for $395m allocation

Minister for Health and Medical Services Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete. Picture: RAMA

Minister for Health, Ifereimi Waqainabete, says he needs $395 million to run his ministry. Speaking in Parliament during the budget debate, he said this wasn’t the time to “live within our means”.

“Our current health budget salary bill for SEG 1 and SEG 2 is $202 million.If we were to live within our means and the forecast revenue is $1.8 billion, we know that 10 per cent of the budget is for Health,” he said.

“That means that the Ministry of Health in this 2020-2021 National Budget will only have $180 million.”

He said they won’t be “able to protect this nation in our normative functions and also with COVID-19 with $180 million”.

“We need the $395 million and that is what this 2020-2021 budget has done.”

He said 105 new doctors, 200 nurses and 40 midwives would be recruited soon.

“We have now in Fiji about 1450 doctors. Those 1450 doctors put our doctor to population ratio at 1:1.5, which is a great number, which is a good number.”

Mr Waqainabete said Government had increased scholarships for medical studies over the past six to seven years.

“One of the reasons why we have been able to fight this fight well also is because the Open Merit Recruitment System that we have in place allows us to have the best people available to be able to fight the fight that we have.”

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