11 Apr 2005

Expectant mothers and nurses evacuated as ceiling collapses in Fiji hospital

7:00 pm on 11 April 2005

A report from Fiji says about 15 expectant and nursing mothers had to be evacuated from the Taveuni Hospital as the ceiling of its maternity ward collapsed.

Radio Fiji reports the incident has been confirmed by the director of Northern Health Services, Dr Ami Chand, who says the immediate area was also sealed off.

The hospital had been built only three years ago by an Australian company under Australian aid.

Dr Chand said condensed water from the air-conditioning unit had caused the ceiling to collapse.

Meanwhile, another report quotes the chairman of the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee, Poseci Bune, as saying the condition of hospitals and health centres in Vanua Levu and surrounding islands is pathetic.

Mr Bune, whose committee has just toured the area, says they are seriously concerned about the safety of thousands of people who are treated there.

He says the Occupational Health and Safety Unit should take immediate action.