The Draft Framework for Safe and Affordable Surgery was endorsed yesterday at the 71st Regional committee meeting of the WHO Western Pacific Region. 

This is one area where Fiji was strongly involved in, both at this regional meeting and at the World Health Assembly in Geneva, recognizing the Framework as a public health issue.  

The Chief Medical Advisor, MOH,  Dr Jemesa Tudravu told delegates at the WHO Virtual Regional Committee Meeting that for developing and undeveloped countries, Safe and Affordable Surgery, Anesthesia and Obstetrics development and acceleration not only addresses the unmet surgical needs, but also helps accelerate Health Systems strengthening as a whole. 

It also captures the principle values of the Ministry’s current health service remodeling initiative aimed at having a service that is Comprehensive, Holistic, Integrated, Enhanced and Fit for Fiji. 

“There can never be Universal Health Coverage without Safe Surgery, Anesthesia, and Obstetrics. In Fiji, every one of our 220 health facilities engage in a surgical intervention whether minor or major, and we must ensure both safety and accessibility to surgical care,” Dr Tudravu said. 

He further stated that Fiji supports the proposed four operational shifts in the Framework based on the regional vision

“For the Future, Towards the Healthiest and Safest Region” and we are currently engaged in developing the National Surgical Obstetric and Anesthesia Plan for the nation through an extensive consultative process with the help of our health partners. 

For the long term, Fiji has appealed to WHO and the development partners that since this is an important public health issue of equity, access and safety for Fiji but and the region, there is a need for sustainable funding, and high level support towards its implementation. 

Dr Tudravu assured  WHO that Fiji will be actively involved  in developing the WHO Collaboration Centre for Safe and Affordable Surgery, Anesthesia, and Obstetrics in Fiji, and will work with WHO and development partners to implement the initiatives under the Framework.

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