The Ministry of Health and Medical Services said the Navua Hospital’s sewer system was routinely monitored by the Divisional Medical Officer Central Dr Dave Whippy (DMOC), Chief Health Inspector Dip Chand (CHI) and the Ministry’s Environmental Health team.
The ministry issued a statement yesterday after claims that sewage from the hospital leaked into a nearby river and affected a food source for nearby villages.
It said all wastewater at the hospital was fully treated and filtered and no untreated wastewater had been discharged.
While a minor leak of clean water occurred, it was quickly remedied by DMOC and his team and there are no health concerns, the ministry said.
The river is understood to be one of the sources of food supply, where villagers from nearby Namelimeli Village caught fish from.
The ministry’s statement came as villagers told the Fiji Sun that the sewage issue was still a concern for them.
People from 16 households in Namelimeli Village located opposite the Navua Hospital said they were living in fear after claiming they found out that the sewage outlet of the Navua Hospital was located in a nearby river.
The villagers claimed that fish in the river had been affected and found dead because chemicals and sewage from the hospital had been allegedly dumped in the river.
Landowner Vatemo Rokodugu, 53, said the sewage problem was highlighted two weeks ago when a clean-up of the hospital compound was conducted and they found that the outlet led to the river where they caught the fish and prawns from.
He said this was of great concern for villagers.
Mr Rokodugu said officials from the Ministry of Health and Medical Services visited the site last Thursday and held a meeting with villagers to look into their complaints, which was raised regularly by them for the past two weeks.
“The health officers from Suva came on Thursday and we showed them the outlet of the sewage, which leads to the river and the river is the village’s main source of seafood,” he said.
“They stated that they would look into the issue and have advised to meet next week to address the solutions or strategies the Health Ministry will come up with to solve the problem,” Mr Rokodugu said.
He said since the complaints were made, the hospital organised waste management to bail out the sewage waste at least twice a week so the river was not affected.
“Although the bail-out process has been taking place, we have stopped fishing from the river because the outlet is still in operation,” Mr Rokodugu said.