Shayal Devi, Saturday, March 15, 2014, The Fiji Times
PATIENTS in need of counselling at Lautoka Hospital will have access to private and proper rooms after the building of an Australian Aid-funded $150,000 counselling centre.
Empower Pacific board chairman Vishnu Deo said because of the lack of space, staff had to counsel clients in the linen or storerooms when privacy was particularly needed.
Mr Deo said Empower Pacific, formerly known as Pacific Counselling, has been providing specialised counselling services in various sub-divisional and divisional facilities of the Health Ministry.
"In 2008, the services were formalised under a memorandum of understanding," he said.
"Previously the counselling services were delivered from a portion of the waiting area with makeshift cubicles. This, combined with overcrowding was not conducive for providing counselling services.
"The construction of this new facility has made it a problem of our past and it is equipped with four rooms, inclusive of a family or group counselling room, training room, staff room and matron's office and convenience facilities."
Mr Deo said they were grateful for the Australian Government help.
Acting Australian High Commissioner Glenn Miles said civil society organisations were key partners in delivering their aid programs, playing a vital role in improving the lives and livelihoods of the poor.
"But what these organisations have told us is that the lack of transportation, communication and infrastructure make it difficult to deliver services to the communities that they serve," he said.
"We see this challenge as particularly urgent with such organisations working outside the Suva area, with communities in remote, often inaccessible areas.