Ministry health

The Fiji Times » Chronic Disease Services – The ministry was under pressure at the height of COVID-19

The Ministry of Health found it very difficult to manage chronic disease services at the height of COVID-19, as many of its services were diverted to the pandemic.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Dr James Fong noted this in his official opening address at the 28th Conference of the Fiji College of General Practitioners over the weekend.

“Many of our hospitals need to take additional steps to mitigate the risk of mixing a sick person with a non-communicable disease and with people with COVID-19,” he said.

“During the mix, we ended up articulating our bed space, which makes it even more difficult for people to access effective care.

“So there was a lot of pressure on us to look at standards and innovations that allow us to separate the streams in terms of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, so that we can ensure that people with a serious illness weren’t going to catch will make them sicker when they enter the hospital.

Dr Fong said at the height of the pandemic there were plans to implement remote and virtual access for specialist care.

He added that the ministry has also taken into consideration that most of these chronic diseases require repeated interactions over a long period of time to optimize disease control and also ensure access to various services.

“We understood very well that even those who had a chronic disease in an optimized state, they were more protected from the serious effects of COVID-19.

“However, we know that COVID-19 has severely affected the ability of many countries to address NCDs and mental health.

“Now we’re moving towards the idea of ​​trying to replicate the same number of services, but trying to reduce the face-to-face time associated with those types of services.”