8 Apr 2004

Fiji government criticised for closing Nadi Hospital pharmacy

9:20 am on 8 April 2004

There's strong criticism in Fiji of the government's decision to close down the Nadi Hospital pharmacy which catered for seventy thousand people in surrounding areas.

The Daily Post reports the pharmacy premises was built with funds raised by the hospital's Board of Visitors in 1991 and its members have resigned in protest against the closure.

The government's role was to provide medicines and staff.

A senior health ministry spokesman is quoted as saying the pharmacy was closed under a regulation which prohibits its operation because it is within five kilometres of commercial pharmacies in Nadi town.

The leader of the National Federation party, Prem Singh, says the government's decision indicates that the countrys health system is terminally ill.

Mr Singh says the state has scant regard for the suffering of the people who depend on public facilities for basic medication.

Mr Singh says every citizen has the right to free, fair and unrestricted access to basic health care and he has called on the government to immediately reverse its decision.