Fiji launches Western Pacific Region's first health system profile
SUVA, Fiji, 29 November 2011 - Policy-makers can now gain easy access to information about Fiji's health system with the launch today of its Health in Transition (HiT) publication, a comprehensive review of the country's health profile.
Fiji's HiT, the first country profile published by the Asia Pacific Observatory of Health Systems and Policies, provides key information, such as on health financing, physical and human resources, health service delivery mechanisms and principle directions in health sector reform, of particular importance to the country's decision-makers.
“Fiji is proud to be the first country in the Region to have completed a HiT Health System Review. It provides us, in a single document, all the important information and data about Fiji’s health system,” says Dr Salanieta T. Saketa, Fiji’s Permanent Secretary for Health. “This comprehensive overview will be very useful to us as we work to strengthen the health system into the future.”
The report highlights both the strengths of Fiji’s health system and the challenges it faces. While its primary health-care system is the foundation of health care in the country and has protected the population from high health care costs, it has failed to stem a rising epidemic of noncommunicable diseases and is underfunded. Government spending on health has remained stubbornly low at only 2.9% of gross domestic product, one of the lowest in the Western Pacific Region. There are also pressing human resources issues, such as a lack of doctors in rural areas and emigration of health workers overseas.
One of the benefits of HiTs, a "one-stop shop" for health systems information, is that it enables countries to compare their health systems with others countries in the Asia Pacific region in a standardized way. Easy access to key information on health systems of countries in the Asia Pacific region will be made available online free of charge.
The Asia Pacific Observatory of Health Systems and Policies is a partnership of WHO, the World Bank, the Australian Government's overseas programme AusAID and the Asian Development Bank, among others.
“The launch of the Fiji's Health in Transition or HiT is an important milestone in health systems analysis in the Asia Pacific Region,” says Dr Shin Young-soo, WHO’s Regional Director for the Western Pacific. “HITs help policy-makers to understand what’s working well with their health systems, where the challenges are, and how it compares to other countries. I firmly believe that this kind of evidence will, if put to good use, assist countries in improving health services and the health of their people.”
Other country profiles are in the pipeline and will be published by the Observatory over the coming months. These include HiTs in Hong Kong (China), Malaysia, Mongolia, the Philippines, Singapore and Solomon Islands, as well as policy briefs on human resources for health and financing.