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 The Fijian Government has signed a Letter of Award with Australia-based Aspen Medical Pty Limited to equip, maintain and operate the Ba and Lautoka hospitals, as well as undertake a vast upgrade of the Lautoka Hospital, bringing specialised, high-quality medical services and modern health facilities direct to all Fijians.

With this development, cutting-edge treatments will be made available in Fiji, including, for the first time ever, radiotherapy for cancer and the 24/7 availability of cardiac surgery, along with tertiary care, better maternity care and expanded treatment options for NCDs.

Aspen Medical - an internationally-certified hospital operator with its headquarters in Canberra - was selected by the Fijian Government following a competitive tender process that began in March 2018. The Fijian Government received technical expertise on the project structuring and tender process from the International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group.

"I would like to thank the Honourable Minister for Economy for his strategic guidance towards this project, and for his bold vision in driving forward this historic advancement in Fijian healthcare. With his support, we have identified a partner with the right mix of experiences building local capacity and addressing the major health challenges facing the Fijian people. Fiji's strong economic position has paved the way for an international partnership of this capacity -- one that will deliver world-class, specialised healthcare for Fijian families at zero additional cost to the patient. With this step, healthcare in Fiji will undergo a revolution that will dramatically improve the well-being of our people as we know it," said the Permanent Secretary for Economy, Makereta Konrote.

Under the terms of the public-private partnership agreement, Aspen Medical will provide more modern medical equipment and will manage and maintain the clinical health services and the hospitals. This will be done by working with existing health staff at both facilities and providing staff with new training and opportunities to work with the latest medical equipment.

In addition, the operator will build a new hospital wing with modern facilities at the Lautoka hospital, which will increase the availability of services at the hospital as well as the number of health workers needed to staff the facilities. Under the project agreement, both the Ba and Lautoka hospitals will be required to be fully internationally accredited.

"We are now leveraging private sector expertise and investment to improve healthcare services for all Fijians under our universal health coverage, with the hospitals remaining public, and our current staff staying in their jobs. And all of our health workers will welcome a wealth of new training opportunities under this agreement. So it's safe to say that this will prove to be a big win for all parties involved -- for the Fijian patient, for our essential healthcare workers, and for the Fijian economy," said the Acting Permanent Secretary for Health and Medical Services, Susan Kiran.

Aspen Medical Pty Limited has a long tradition of similar partnerships with governments and the World Health Organization (WHO) for the benefit of people in both developed and developing nations around the world.

"The entire global team at Aspen Medical is honoured to have been entrusted with implementing a key strategic healthcare goal for the people of Fiji. We look forward to working with the Fijian Government to further advance the bright future of this great nation by allowing Fijians to reach their full potential through high-quality medical care," said Mr Bruce Armstrong, Group CEO of Aspen Medical.

© 2018 Ministry of Communications