20 Aug 2007

Fiji Methodist withdraws threat to shut down hospital

8:04 pm on 20 August 2007

The Methodist Church of Fiji has withdrawn its threat to close down the Ba Mission Hospital.

The threat was issued last week by the general secretary of the church, the Rev Ame Tugaue, after the interim minister for health, Dr Senilagakali, demanded payment of 260-thousand US dollars owed by the church for the maintenance of the hospital.

Radio Legend says the Rev Tugaue is now saying that the church cannot close the Ba Mission Hospital because it provides services to about 60,000 people although Dr Senilagakali has asked them to repay the money.

Dr Senilagakali says the church has already collected a huge amount of money on the first day of its annual fundraising and should pay its dues.

The interim health minister says there was a clear understanding that the government would maintain the hospital but the church would repay the costs incurred.

But the Rev Tugaue says the deposed SDL government has agreed to write of the debt and they are hoping this will be done by the interim administration.