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The Ministry of Health is prioritising the building of proper health facilities to prevent open defecation.
In line with this, the Ministry also reports significant damage done to infrastructure.
An immediate public health need for affected areas is the construction of sanitation facilities.
Minister for Health Jone Usamate said addressing this will also prevent the spread of disease
” If there are villages that don’t have toilets and if people are defecating or passing their waste around in the village and things like that it could lead to complications so that is our major focus right now the Ministry of health” said Jone Usamate-Minister for Health
The arrival of the HMAS Canberra will immediately address this issue.
“Well I think we need to build especially for our community we need to at least build a few for the Community for each village and our public health expert they’ll be able to give us the exact numbers that they need but at the moment their focus is making sure these are available.We are glad that we have assistance from the Australian Government from Canberra, they have engineers they have soldiers on the island, they’ll be able to help us to do that,” said Usamate
Despite constraints public health service continues to be provided.
“I think the main message that we need to get through, our facilities are under stress, some are damaged and destroyed but services continue to be provided.”
The Minister visited Koro to assess the health concerns of the severely impacted area.
Meanwhile, in the aftermath of Cyclone Winston, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) estimates 5,600 women of the estimated 87,500 women between 15 to 49 years are pregnant, based on an estimated total affected population of 350,000 people.
The affected areas can expect 600 babies per month for the next year.
Of the expected 600 deliveries per month, 88 women will experience childbirth complications and require additional obstetric care.
In terms of gender-based violence which is known to increase significantly in fragile situations, the UNFPA estimates that 21,000 of women of reproductive age are at risk of physical and sexual violence, two per cent of which are at risk of rape.
Dr Laurent Zessler the Director and Representative of the UNFPA Pacific Sub-Regional Office said there is an urgent need to address issues related to sexual and reproductive health.
Women and girls must be able to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancies or from sexual violence that could lead to contracting sexually-transmitted infections including HIV.
SOURCE: FIJI TV/PACNEWS
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