A children's heart screening centre - the first in the Pacific - has opened in Fiji.
The Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Medical Centre in Suva can now screen children for heart disease at no cost to their families.
Centre co-ordinator Dr Krupali Tappoo said the centre could now boast an echocardiograph, which cost $US93,000 dollars, and was donated by a New Zealand couple.
"Our focus is congenital heart disease. Probably we'll pick up children with rheumatic heart disease as well. The treatment side of that will be different. In most instances, the children require surgery. Now in Fiji, about 20,000 children are born every year of which about 200 children will be born with congenital heart disease," she said.
Dr Krupali Tappoo says 25 children were screened last week and surgeries are set to begin today.
Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama opened the $US700,000 and said every parent deserved the same level of assurance when their child fell ill.
"Because of this new heart screening centre, families whose children suffer from a cardiac-related illness will know that feeling of security; they will know there is hope for their child," he said.
Ms Tappoo said the world's first mobile heart screening device - the HD stethoscope - would also allow the Sai Foundation and the Health Ministry to conduct heart screenings for children in rural Fiji.
"This is part of the Sai Prema Foundation's Project Heart Beat initiative."
She said the centre would provide pediatric cardiac surgeries - a specialist treatment now available for the first time in Fiji.
Ms Tappoo said it also offered general consultations, an in-house dietician who would provide proactive care to combat Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).
"The centre will also provides ECGs for diagnostic purposes and women's health services including pap-smears for cervical screening," she said.