12 Feb 2004

Asbestos discovery leads Fiji authorities to order closure of part of Labasa hospital

10:21 am on 12 February 2004

Authorities in Fiji have ordered the closure of a section of the Labasa Hospital after the discovery of toxic levels of asbestos.

The Fiji Times quotes a Labour Ministry spokesman, Malakai Raikoti, as saying the lives of patients and those who work at the hospital are at risk from lung cancer, asthma and other serious illnesses.

Mr Raikoti says he has issued a prohibition order against the storeroom where the asbestos was found which means it has to be vacated within 7 days or the hospital will face a fine of 12 thousand US dollars.

Traces of asbestos were also found in the kitchen but this has been given an improvement notice.

The hospital superintendent, Dr Eloni Tora, says they are thinking of appealing against the order but will also consider other options.