It's not just me. If you read the article, you'll see FijiVillage journalists were also scratching their heads. See link.
Pio Tabaiwalu blamed the media after Fijivillage questioned him on why SODELPA is raising issues about the health sector now with just over three months to go for elections.
He said they had released statements earlier that were not covered. Fijivillage denies receiving any of them, and wonders why the former SDL (now SODELPA) party that was in Government from 2001 to 2006 should only now say hospitals are in a disgraceful condition.
Tabaiwalu blamed Government for bragging about taking Fiji into the internet era but failing to invest in basic data systems to give faster and more efficient hospital service.
He does not, however, want what he called a caretaker government to do anything about the disgraceful hospitals so close to the the elections, and claimed that Government's recently announced major medical reforms —some are continuations from the 2014 Budget— are vote buying.
And when questioned on SODELPA's health policy, he said they'd need to do a comprehensive study first and then decide on the areas of concern.
So, where does this leave us?
- SDL/SODELPA take no responsibility for the hospital conditions. They only became disgraceful after Bainimarama came to power.
- SODELPA has made a number of statements on health but the media has not published them.
- SODELPA has a health policy but it needs to study what is needed before saying what it is.
- SODELPA does not want the Bainimarama Government to do anything about the disgraceful conditions for any three months because it could influence voters.
WHAT IS THE BAINIMARAMA GOVERNMENT HEALTH RECORD?
To put the record right, this is a summary of Ministry of Health work since 2007 reported by FijiVillage. See link.
- Government has spent over one billion dollars on health in the past seven years.
- The country now has MRI machines, CT scanners, cardiac labs and a new chemotherapy suite. Ten operating theatres have been renovateat CWM Hospital in Suva.
- Savusavu has a new Accident and Emergency Department.
- All 19 sub-divisional hospitals have been equipped with ultrasound equipment and x-ray machines. Six health centres in the Greater Suva have extended their opening hours.
- Labasa Hospital has a new extension and Nasea a new health centre, and nursing stations and quarters have been improved in different parts of the country.
Further, it is expected that :
- the number of doctors will increase by about 400 by 2016,
- and nursing posts by 1,510 new posts by 2018.
I found it difficult to follow Pio's line of argument. He may have been better to say what the SDL did for the country's health during the nine years in which it was the government. I do not have the figures but I doubt it would come anywhere close up to what has been done in the last eight years.