1 Apr 2004

Fiji minister says isolation of AIDs patients one way of ensuring they are properly cared for

5:47 pm on 1 April 2004

A senior minister in Fiji's powerful Methodist Church is standing by his call that all HIV/AIDS sufferers in Fiji should be isolated and cared for on remote Makogai island.

Makogai was used to isolate leprosy patients in the first half of the 20th century and the Rev Isimeli Sigadrodro says it should be done again with HIV/AIDS patients.

The call by the lecturer at the church's Davuilevu Theological College, made to delegates at a Pacific Council of Churches Consultation on HIV/AIDs, has been widely criticised, including by the Methodist leadership.

But Rev Sigadrodro stands by his his comments.

"lets face the facts, the people are suffering in our midst and we seem to be doing nothing and they are unable to pay for the medicine - we all understand it is very expensive for them to afford, so if we prepare an institution, - I was not only thinking of an uninhabited island, but a care home, for example - put them there and they can be looked after"