25 Mar 2011

Volunteers in Fiji to help TB patients

3:54 pm on 25 March 2011

The Fiji Health Ministry is hoping to partner with the private sector to fight tuberculosis.

Fiji marked World Tuberculosis Day yesterday, with the interim Health Minister Dr Neil Sharma saying that many tuberculosis patients default on their medication, therefore worsening their condition.

The Deputy Secretary of Public Health, Dr Joe Koroivueta, says its DOTS programme, the Directly Observed Treatment Short course, is making progress with ensuring patients recover from the disease.

Through the programme, community volunteers supervise TB patients as they take their medication.

Dr Koroivueta says the country is on the verge of eradicating the disease and believes the private sector can help the ministry.

"We have the community-based organisations, we have the faith-based organisations, we have the women's group and we have youth. And there are certain sub-organisations within churches in the country. So the list goes on and on. It was just never explored innovatively in the past."

The Deputy Secretary of Public Health, Dr Joe Koroivueta.