JOINT MEDIA RELEASE
UN Women, Women’s Peace & Humanitarian Fund and Medical Services Pacific
Essential Services for Survivors of Violence Launched in Northern Division
Friday, 8 December 2017 (Labasa, Fiji) – Medical Services Pacific (MSP) is launching their “One-Stop-Shop” clinic today in Labasa that will provide free clinical, counselling and legal support services, including mobile outreach to the most remote villages on Fiji’s second largest island of Vanua Levu.
“We have partnered with UN Women, through support from the Women’s Peace & Humanitarian Fund (WPHF), and the Canada Fund to expand our services to Vanua Levu and empower women and youth through essential sexual reproductive health care and our signature approach of combined clinical, legal and counselling services for survivors of violence,” said Ms Jennifer Poole, Founder and Executive Director of MSP.
Representatives attending the official launch of MSP’s services in the Northern Division include UN Women Fiji Multi-Country Office (MCO) Deputy Representative Mr Nicolas Burniat; Mr Faka’iloatonga Taumoefolau, Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) Coordinator;Mr Lorenz Wright, Political and Public Affairs Officer with the Canadian Government;as well as senior representatives from the Fiji Police Force and the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Northern Division.
“Through the WPHF, UN Women is strengthening the capacity of local partners to provide humanitarian assistance that responds to the different needs of women, girls, boys and men and prioritises preventing and responding to gender-based violence in emergencies (GBViE),” said Mr Burniat.
“This is critical in the Pacific, as cyclones, floods and droughts are becoming increasingly unpredictable and extreme – with rates of violence against women already double the global average at two out of every three women – and existing vulnerabilities are known to worsen during disasters,” added Mr Burniat.
Now MSP will be positioned to respond in the Northern Division from day one of an emergency, compared with a six-hour journey by vehicle and boat from Suva, with essential medical supplies, equipment and staff as per the last major disaster response of Tropical Cyclone Winston in 2016.
“The One-Stop-Shop will strengthen existing services available for those living outside of the main island and well as be positioned to respond immediately from within the community to disasters affecting the Northern Division,” said Ms. Poole.
In the lead-up to the official launch, MSP has been working in Vanua Levu with the Fiji Police Force, accompanying them on home visits to provide essential services to survivors of sexual violence; meeting with village heads to raise awareness of protection issues and participating in Fiji Red Cross Society disaster preparedness sessions – already reaching approximately 150 to 200 people per month since August, of which 54 percent are women and girls.
MSP is one of four organizations in the Pacific region supported by UN Women through the WPHF, a rapid finance mechanism and partnership between the United Nations, Member States, and civil society stakeholders.
UN Women MCO in Fiji, which assists 14 Pacific Island countries and territories, is working with national organizations on preparedness and prioritisation of gender and protection in humanitarian action – ensuring women can participate in, lead and be empowered by humanitarian assistance.