This year’s annual conference hosted by the World Health Assembly will focus on public health issues such as universal health care, the Millennium Development Goals and Non- Communicable diseases.

The 65th conference is held at the Palais de Nations in Geneva which started on May 21st and continues till 26th.

The WHA is a decision-making body of the World Health Organisation and is attended by delegations from all WHO Member States and focuses on a specific health agenda prepared by the Executive Board. The main functions of the World Health Assembly are to determine the policies of the Organisation, appoint the Director-General, supervise financial policies, and review and approve the proposed programme budget.

Fiji’s Minister for Health, Dr Neil Sharma who is attending the assembly participated in a technical session on patient safety hosted by the Supreme Council of Health of Qatar this week.

Discussions were based on achievements in patient safety and a call to action to promote patient safety as a fundamental principle of all health systems.

The Minister said discussions focused on the successes and lessons learnt from the implementation of global and national patient safety programmes in the past decade and how it can be applied to strengthen health systems for quality improvements and safety.

Dr Sharma said in terms of Fiji’s development on patient care in health systems, there has been a number of initiatives:

-       The commencement of the Customer Focused Training and emphasis on ethical and professionalism training of nurses.

-       New laws on Medical and Dental Practitioners Decree, Nursing , Allied Health Workers including Radiology technicians and Pharmacist Professional decrees which regulate in this arena.

“The Ministry of Health has spent $1.2milion in educating its workforce last year in the areas of compulsory professional development and enhanced training to raise standards so that better performance by health management is delivered”, Dr Sharma said

He said patient care can also be tackled by strengthening the Root Cause Analysis system (RCA) in cases of complaints by public and clients to improve work performance.

“The MOH has de-centralised mental health, GOPD services and centralised General Pathology with high technology support to enhance training of Post Graduates to ensure patient care.”

The Ministry has also established a Health Policy, Planning, Budget Analysis unit at its headquarters to have an improved policy, monitor and greater surveillance.

“We have improved technology, increased number of staffs and improve supply line of medicines, consumables and reduced wastage through better procurement processes.”

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