Health Fair Happenings
Health Fairs are a fantastic way to allow a community to understand their health status, to inspire and encourage them to live a more healthy life, and to provide early detection of problems before they result in medical emergencies. A Health Fair provides access to a range of health and social services, including clinical services and referrals, and helps people to understand the available services. Health fairs encourage people interact informally with health care professionals and ask questions. They aim to help people to modify their behavior for healthy living and to reduce Non-Communicable Diseases through prevention and early detection.
Last Saturday, the MSP team delivered our final Health Fair under our ‘Healthy Choices Program’, funded by the Australian Government through their Direct Aid Program, to the community at Tamavua-i-wai Settlement in Suva.
In partnership with several hard-working organisations such as the Ministry of Health, FNU College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Fiji Police Force and Rotaract Club of Suva, the Health Fair provided a wide range of services that included doctor consultations, counselling, legal advice, TB and NCD screening, Pap smears, and family planning and reproductive health information and awareness.
Around 50 kids were delighted to have their faces painted by Rotaract volunteers, an experience topped off by a visit from Colgate’s much-loved Dr Rabbit and his Community Educator who taught the kids all about good oral hygiene. A huge thanks also to the Rotary Club of Suva East for their donation towards the event.
The day was a huge success, with more than 200 community members accessing services and information on the day.
The Tamavua-i-wai Health Fair in numbers:
152 registered clients received healthcare services:
- 107 medical consultations
- 60 dental examinations were performed, including 40 immediate extractions. All had oral healthcare advice
- 16 clients accessed legal advice
- 9 clients access counselling services
- 12 women access Pap smear services
- 90 community members accessed the information booth to receive information on family planning, reproductive health care and ending violence against women and girls
- 70 community members were screened for TB
…and 50 (non-registered) children were reached with education and awareness around oral health care and diet, good touch / bad touch training, and awareness around substance abuse and protection.
Formal partnerships with key stakeholders are an important strategy to providing effective health services to those in rural areas. MSP has enjoyed a strong working relationship with Ministry of Health since our inception, and in June this year we were honoured to re-sign our Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with them for another term.
Also in June, MSP signed a new MOU with the Ministry of Social Welfare, Women, and Poverty Alleviation (MSWWPA). This MOU enables MSP to provide healthcare services at MSWWPA Women’s Resource Centres around Fiji. It will also allow MSP to work closely with the Department of Social Welfare.
Our little team is growing!
We have had a few changes in staffing which has added new skills and additional capacity to the team. In a wonderful opportunity for our long-time Program Manager, Ms Ashna Shaleen received a scholarship earlier this year to complete her Master degree in Australia.
Before leaving, Ashna undertook a handover with the incoming Program Manager, Ms Nileshni Devi. Nileshni previously worked for SPC and Marie Stopes International in Fiji. Nileshni is currently completing a Master of Public Health.
MSP has also hired a new senior counsellor who is working full time under the newly funded Phoenix program. Ms Peci Baladrokadroka is a highly regarded counsellor and social worker who is well respected in the NGO and government sector. She formally coordinated the social workers association with the MSWWPA and has extensive experience working with children at risk. And finally, the newest member to our team is Ms Luci Tabaiwalu undertaking the role of Legal Aid Officer, specialising in child, gender, and basic human rights.
We also farewelled our latest medical intern, Zaireen Najib. Zaireen volunteered with the team for four weeks, helping out in the clinic and on outreach visits. A huge vinaka vakalevu for all your help!
New funding acquired
MSP received funded from the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for our new Phoenix Program, which provides support services for survivors of sexual assault and their families.
The Phoenix Program also has a component for livelihoods support and promotion – the candle making program. Candles will be sold by survivors to support the group and the program, aiming for sustainable social service provision. Standby for locations where you can purchase Survivor Candles and contribute to the welfare of those in need.