17 Aug 2007

Fiji Methodist Church threatens to close Ba Mission Hospital

8:48 am on 17 August 2007

Fiji's Methodist Church has threatened to close the Ba Mission Hospital if the interim government demands money for its maintenance.

The Fiji Sun newspaper quotes the acting director of public health, Dr Josaia Samuela, as saying the move would deprive 60,000 people of basic health services.

The interim minister for health, Dr Jona Senilagakali, wrote to the Methodist Church yesterday saying it was set to raise over 1-point-2 million US dollars through its annual fund raising and choir competition this month.

Dr Senilagakali said with that much money he hoped the Methodist Church would start paying off the 260-thousand US dollars it owes the state for the maintenance of the Ba Hospital.

But the general sectary of the Methodist Church, the Rev Ame Tugaue, says the church would close the hospital if the interim government insists on payment.

The Rev Tugaue says previously the hospital was funded through Australian government aid but when that stopped the Fiji government had been funding its operation and maintenance.

The Ba Hospital can admit 41 patients and has 6 doctors, 31 nurses, 3 interns and 19 other staff provided by the government.