SUVA, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) -- Fiji's free medicine program has been reaching out and benefiting around 24,317 registered Fijians, the government said on Wednesday.
In the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the budget arrangements for the program are being maintained, according to Rosy Akbar, minister for health and medical services.
The free medicine program was introduced in 2015 with the budget allocation of some 4 million U.S. dollars to provide access to 72 medicines that are under price control. In 2016, the Fijian government added 70 medicines to the program, bringing the medicine list to a total of 142, and at the same time increased the budget allocation to around 5 million U.S. dollars.
Ninety percent of the free medicine program budget is devoted to procurement and distribution of medicines to local pharmacies and health facilities throughout Fiji, Akbar said, adding that the program provides a good example of public-private partnerships aimed at improving the effectiveness of government-funded health services.
Under the program, eligible individuals must have a prescription issued by a registered doctor before they can obtain medicines.
The Ministry of Health and Medical Services aims to raise more awareness on this program to get more people to apply for the assistance, Akbar said.