Dec 16, 2018 Last Updated 6:17 PM, Dec 15, 2018

Ministry of Health officials are scrambling to address a fault in the sewer outlet of the new hospital in Navua in order to avert a major health crisis.

Residents near the hospital at Namelimeli on the Queens Highway say the fault has seen raw sewerage being redirected to discharge into a creek nearby, which is a key source of bathing and food for more than 300 villagers in the area.

When a team from this magazine visited the hospital, it observed liquid waste flowing out of the hospital’s septic tank onto a concrete drain that discharges into the creek, some 20 metres away.

Beside the septic tank is a house, which is securely locked that local residents say houses the waste reticulation plant. The machine has been defective for ages, they say.

Nearby residents say they first noticed sewer in the creek about a month ago, and alerted hospital officials. They said Ministry of Health environmental health officers visited the defective plant last month but did nothing.

In the absence of an official warning, the three villages that use the creek, namely Namelimeli, Nabau and Naveivatuloa have warned villagers to stay clear from using the creek for bathing or fishing.

Questions sent to the Ministry of Health about the health scare last Monday have still not been answered. However a resident near the hospital told Islands Business today that health officials were at the hospital on the Monday afternoon, which is the day the magazine sent their questions to the Ministry.

Officials were again dispatched to Navua Hospital yesterday and they reportedly took samples of the water in the creek with them to their headquarters in Suva. Residents say the headman of Namelimeli village has announced that health officials would be in the village this evening for a meeting, and they do not know what the purpose of the meeting was.

In our questions sent to the Ministry of Health’s media office last Monday, we asked the following questions:

  1. What remedial action has been taken by the Ministry with regard to the leakage of raw sewer of the hospital to the river nearby?
  2. Can the Ministry confirms that the leakage is harmless and residents living nearby including the villages of Namelimeli and Navatuloa can still swim and fish from the river?
  3. Is the Ministry conducting some awareness exercises on the health effects of the sewer discharge?
  4. We are told that this is one of a few construction issues at the new hospital. First there was the issue of toilet blockage because the wrong toilet design was used, and as was raised in parliament, the hospital's kitchen could not be used either and meals have to be prepared for some time at the old hospital kitchen. Can the Ministry advise as to whether all these construction issues have been resolved, and if they have been, what was the cost of repairs, who did the repairs and who paid for it?
  5. What are the lessons learnt from getting a foreign company to build infrastructure for the Ministry?

By Anish Chand

A Hong Kong based company is set to buy out the controlling shares in Fiji Care Insurance Limited.
 
Mount Sophia Ventures Limited has a registered company at Infinitus Plaza, 199 Des Voeux Road, Central Hong Kong and is listed as an investment company owned by Fiji citizen Avinesh Raju,
 
The details are contained in the bidder statememt that has been forwarded to the Reserve Bank of Fiji.
 
The parent company in Hong Kong has registered a company in Fiji, Mount Sophia Ventures (Fiji) Pte Limited as the bidding company to takeover Fiji Care Insurance.
 
Currently negotiations are underway on how many shareholders want to sell, but three major shareholders have already agreed to sell 5,760,016 shares at $1.10 per share.
 
It's estimated MSVPL will spend between $5 million to $6 million in the takeover of FIL. 
 
The bidder statement states; "it is proposed that the remaining 750,000 shares held by Stronghold Investments Inc. will be retained to underpin Mr Peter McPherson's commitment to FIL as its Managing Director for at least the next three years."
 
MSVPL states  that it does not intend to make any changes to Fiji Care Insurance Limited, adding it intends to enhance the investments skills of FIL by including the introduction of new investments as well as improved investment management.
 
MSVPL will also maintain the current dividend policy of 50/50 for distribution and re-investment.
 
"There is no intention to make any immediate or imminent changes to the business structure and the current set up will be maintained overall," the MSVPL bidder statement states.
 
The current Managing Director, Peter McPherson will continue to be engaged on a contract to provide continuity and stability to the business after takeover for at least three years.
 
The bidder statement says "MSVPL believes that the takeover of FIL shares will provide impetus and complementary commercial justification to its recent acquisition of shares in the MIOT Pacific Hospital.
 
MSVPL will continue to employ all the current staff of FIL and does not intend to make any changes in the foreseeable future.
 
The South Pacific Stock Exchange has suspended trading in the stocks of Fiji Care Insurance Limited until this takeover is finalised.

From banking to life saving

The woman behind Guam’s first private hospital

FOR many years, Guam depended on the government-run Guam Memorial Hospital for medical care. But due to limited services offered at the problematic public hospital, several Guam patients had to seek medical treatment in off-island institutions.

The health care landscape changed when the privatelyowned Guam Regional Medical City opened in summer last year. GRMC is a 130-bed acute care facility operated by The Medical City—a world-class medical institution in the Philippines. It took almost 10 years to build the $240-million hospital, a project initiated by Guam businessman Peter Sgro, chairman of the Guam Healthcare and Hospital Development Foundation.

GRMC is headed by Margaret Bengzon, president and CEO of the GRMC and a senior member of The Medical City’s management team. Prior to her engagement with The Medical City, Bengzon was a consultant for the Philippine Foundation for Health and Development, with specialisation in the areas of health policy, health finance and hospital management.

Her prestigious roster of clients included the World Health Organisation, the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Harvard Medical Institute, AWO International / BMZ (German Ministry for Economic Cooperation), and the Philippine Department of Health. But health care has not always been Bengzon’s scene.

She was a banker by training. After graduating from Ateneo de Manila University, Bengzon moved to New York, where she served as vice president of the Financial Services Group of Chemical Banking Corp. When the company entered into a merger that gave birth to what is now known as JP Morgan Chase Bank, the Bengzons moved back to the Philippines in 1998. Margaret Bengzon headed the bank’s local headquarters. Years later, she found herself at The Medical City.

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