19 Apr 2005

Problems of infection in neo-natal intensive care unit in Suva hospital look likely to continue

8:26 pm on 19 April 2005

An obstetrician with Fiji's Colonial War Memorial Hospital, in Suva, says problems in the hospital's neo-natal unit will persist until there is a co-ordinated approach to equipment supply.

At least five babies have died from infection traced to the intensive care unit's ventilator.

James Fong says a brand-new state-of-the-art ventilator was supplied, but it cannot be used because of a lack of humidifiers - a vital component.

Dr Fong says it is essential to introduce procedures to integrate the use of equipment and supplies.

"We've talked about it for ages. Setting up the body that co-ordinates equipment and consumables, and then we have some means of integrating what's where and what is for which. The policy is written up, they just have to nominate somebody to chair the actual body that will do it."

Dr Fong says he does not wish to speculate publicly as to why there is a delay in setting up the co-ordinating body.