Rabbits & markets & fairs (oh my!)
Well, it’s been a busy few months here at Medical Services Pacific, and no doubt you’ve all been wondering what we’ve been up to!
To market, to market
The mobile outreach team outdid themselves last month with two market visits in as many weeks, to Nadi and Lautoka.
The Lautoka visit was first in line, with more than 200 clients helped over the two days. This included two referrals to the Ministry of Health staff at the Lautoka Hospital for positive results from cervical cancer screening, indicating how important it is for women to access health screening services. Early detection is vitally important for responding to cancer.
In Nadi the hot weather didn’t keep anyone away, with the MSP team providing clinical services and healthcare information to a massive 361 clients.
A big thank you to the Municipalities of Lautoka and Nadi for welcoming us to the markets. Special thanks to the Ministry of Health who joined the team in the West.
Celebrating healthy choices
Late last year MSP ran the first of four Health Fairs, as part of our “Healthy Choices” Project, at the Qauia Settlement Kindergarten Hall.
Opened by the Acting Australian High Commissioner, Mr Glenn Miles, the fun carnival nature of the Health Fair, supported by positive health promotion, encouraged a wide range of community engagement and allowed all ages to access information and a variety of key healthcare services.
All up it was a huge day, with the MSP team seeing more than 200 clinical clients and information services provided to even more. The kids particularly enjoyed the oral hygiene tips from Dr Rabbit and the Colgate team as well as the face painting by Rotaract.
But we could not have done it without our partners: a massive thank you to the Qauia Settlement, Fiji National University (the student dentists are always a big favourite at the fairs), the Rotaract Club of Suva, Colgate Palmolive (Fiji) Ltd, the Ministry of Health, Fiji Police Force, and our project funder, the Australian Government.
Executive Director of MSP, Jennifer Poole, said events such as the one at Qauia are important because they bring the services directly into the heart of the community, where it is most needed; MSP strives to bring free medical services to families and communities across Fiji who may not otherwise have regular access to such a range of healthcare professionals.
“We encourage early health-seeking behaviour because prevention of illness is much more effective for everyone,” says Jennifer. “Our teams advise the community to act immediately. Don’t wait until you are so sick that you become a critical patient, as your likelihood of survival decreases if you delay care and treatment. These health fairs are important because they enable the whole community to make healthy choices and to access information and services.”
Our next Health Fair will be held in April.
The Corona Club strikes again!
After the amazing refurbishment of our clinic last year, we owe another massive thank you to Gabrielle Weerasinghe and the Corona Club Fiji for working with MacFarlane Australia, Westpac Fiji, Fiji Holdings Unit Trust and Fiji Television Limited to donate much-needed medical supplies to the MSP clinic!
These supplies are vital to effective delivery of our services out in the community, and we are incredibly grateful to all involved for this donation.
International Women’s Day: Inspiring Change
“The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights” Gloria Steinem
Here at MSP we believe in working in partnership, building trust, learning together and working together is the way to strengthen or improve system and policies. Each year, International Women’s Day allows us to remind each other of these goals and to strengthen and affirm our efforts as we strive together for true gender equality.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Bainimarama gave a speech in which he stated there are 739 rape cases are pending before the courts, with 262 of these involving children under the age of 13. The Prime Minister described the figures as “shocking” and called for an “urgent revolution” in men’s attitudes towards women.
You can read our Executive Director, Jennifer Poole’s response to the speech here: NGO Backs PM’s Sex Attacks Plea
We ask each one of you to inspire change in those around us to achieve zero tolerance towards gender violence in Fiji.
Volunteers at MSP
During the past months we were joined by William Angus, a final year medical student from University of Otago in New Zealand, who went out on outreach and also supported our team with our program to assist survivors of sexual assault. His testimonial is now up on our website. Please have a read, it is very powerful.
We also welcomed two wonderful volunteers, Takuro Steele and Yvette Tulloch, to the team. Over the next year, Takuro will be working with the MSP Outreach Team to provide assistance with monitoring and evaluation as well as community outreach, and Yvette will be helping out with the communications work at MSP. A big Fiji welcome to you both!
Resources needed for 2014
MSP is still seeking a corporate sponsor for 2014. We are developing our social services program in partnership with government and seek resources to assist children at risk and survivors. If you wish to sponsor our medical team’s T-shirts or support a specific project, please contact us at email@example.com
MSP will hold another round of workshops with youth in Fiji, focusing on bringing information and services to rural youth. The workshops will commence in Natasiri in April 2014. The workshops will provide information on gender equality, child protection and adolescent reproductive health. Seeking to engage youth to recognize and respond to children and youth at risk.
Interested youth should contact firstname.lastname@example.org for registration.
8-9 April: All Women and Children Empowered Now: Engaging Youth in Child Protection in Rural Areas Workshop 1, Naitasiri Province
12 April: Health Fair, Davuilevu Housing, Waila
23-24 April: All Women and Children Empowered Now: Engaging Youth in Child Protection in Rural Areas Workshop 2, Naitasiri Province
29-30 April: Market Outreach, Sigatoka