I am a survivor of Domestic Violence and this is my story

I am an iTaukei woman, been married for five years and a mother to two amazing boys. My husband was the sole bread winner of our beautiful small family, covering all our expenses, including bill payments, house rent, and putting food on the table for the family.  I, on the other hand, stayed at home to clean, wash, cook, look after the children and do all the domestic chores. My husband and I had many happy times together, and we had a good relationship generally, with the exception of the times he got drunk.

Abuse started when my husband began bonding with his friends after working hours on drinking sprees. “When he returned home from his drinking parties, we would argue over family matters, like why there was no food on the table at 3am.  He would get really angry and swear at me, belittle me, shame, criticise and abuse me verbally and emotionally. This was done while he was physically beating me and our children watched”. 

I went to the Police Station three times but all I would ask the Police Officers was to “Please warn my husband to not touch me again”.  He was the sole bread winner of the family and I could not bring myself to report or file a complaint. More than the beatings and abuse, I was afraid of what the future might hold if I reported my husband. I could not stop wondering who would take care of our bills and provide for us if he were to be imprisoned. These thoughts held me back and being verbally, emotionally and physically abused every payday became the norm for me.

I also neglected the impact it had on my children. I noticed my boys had started fighting and punching each other and it was becoming difficult to manage their behavior.  One particular day, when my boys were fighting, I tried to calm them down by telling them, “E tabu na veivacu” (it is ‘taboo’ (forbidden) to punch each other). I can still clearly remember my 7-year-old son interrupting me and saying, But mom, you and daddy always fight and daddy punches you too.” This struck a chord with me; but I did nothing because that was how I responded to the abuse—I did nothing!

During COVID-19 pandemic, I was approached by a friend of mine, asking if I wanted to do some volunteer work.  Without a second thought, I responded “YES”. After a year of volunteering, I began to step outside of my comfort zone, seeing and understanding things from a different perspective. Through the encouragement and empowerment from my colleagues, I was inspired to speak and share my story.

One evening, my husband came home from work intoxicated and immediately started abusing me verbally, emotionally, and physically. His punches left me with severe injuries, including a black eye, and bruises all over my body. In the dead of night, while most people were soundly sleeping in their homes, I fled from mine without considering my safety, my destination, or how I would survive.

I sought help from the Legal Officer at MSP. I said to myself, “This has to stop”.

On my behalf, MSP Legal Officer reported the incident to the Police. I received referrals for a medical examination at the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MOHMS) and was provided with psychosocial support from MSP Counsellor. I will never forget the support, kindness and consideration I got at this difficult time. My husband is currently in jail because I followed through on the report, which led to me being called to court and testifying. If I knew that I could reach out to organisations in the county, I could have ended my suffering sooner.

For the first time in five years, even with my injuries and bruises, I was at peace and slept well. 

Through the support from Medical Services Pacific, MOHMS, Fiji Police Force and other organisation, my children and I are now safe. I do not live in fear or shame!  I am more independent as I have a paid job now, allowing me to pay for my expenses such as food and rent. It has been a difficult journey, but I am safe, happier and content.

I would like to encourage other women who are struggling in silence to come forward and seek help. Organizations, such as MSP, can offer you the assistance and support that you need. You are not Alone!

* MSP was able to mobilize resources fast to cater for the survivor’s emergency needs due to the support from the European Union in the Pacific.

Rotuma Outreach Returns Results

We arrived in Rotuma at around 8:30 AM on the 8th of February, 2019, and returned two weeks later. We were greeted at the airport by the team from Ministry of Health and the Fiji Police Force, who also provided our transportation to our accommodation.

MSP Outreach team & Sub-divisional Medical Staff at the Hospital in Ahau

We were accommodated at Mua’s Homestay at Ahau Government Station for the 2 weeks on the Island.

The natural beauty of the island and its people made our time on Rotuma really special, and we were warmly welcomed by everyone on the island.


The MSP Outreach worked in partnership with the Ministry of Health and the Fiji Police Force in Rotuma. We were able to provide educational and clinical services, including counselling and legal advice, to Rotumans in 5 schools and 16 communities.

A focus group discussion with students of Christ the King Primary School

Our Outreach team was also able to provide awareness on Child Protection, and the National Child Helpline (free call 1325). We focused on the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) & Gender Based Violence (GBV), as well as Family Planning, STIs and Menopause.

Our nurse and divisional medical staff conducted screenings for Cervical Cancer, Breast Cancer, and Prostate Cancer as well as general check ups.

Rotuma has higher numbers of men than Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, and an ageing population. For the first time in Rotuma, the medical team, led by the MSP Nurse, was able to provide instant testing for prostate cancer for men. This led to three confirmed cases of prostate cancer which have been referred on to the appropriate health officials.


The Ministry of Health Team in Rotuma were inspired by our approach to health and wellness. They shared that they usually only focus on the physical aspects of health, whereas the MSP team use a holistic approach to health, improving mental and social well-being, and challenging outdated gender norms in the community.

Rotumans shared that they were happy some of the topics, like menstruation and menopause, were becoming less taboo.

What’s next?

The Monitoring & Evaluation Team will be writing their reports this week highlighting the outcomes, issues, and recommendations to come.

Medical Services Pacific will be leaving for the island of Kadavu in 2 weeks for a similar outreach.

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Story of Change: Improving young people’s access to sexual and reproductive health services in Fiji

Planned pregnancies spaced between two or more years would result in healthier babies and fewer medical problems for a mother. Planning for a child will help you avoid the social, medical, and financial problems that are associated with raising a child. There are many birth control methods and techniques available and can be accessed at all MSP clinics, free of charge. MSP works to strengthen access to quality integrated sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services in the country.

Since MSP’s inception in 2010, we have seen significant results in women accessing our services. A glaring example would be a touching story of a 19-year-old, single mother who was empowered, and therefore demonstrating that potentially many more young people can benefit from accessing these essential services.  

‘My dream is to be able to depend on myself’ 

As a child growing up in the greater Suva area, there were more opportunities for Amelia (not her real name). She was doing well at school and on completing primary level, gained a pass for secondary school. Unfortunately, her secondary school life was short lived because her parents could not afford her school fees. She was devastated. “I wanted to continue with school but couldn’t, so I stayed at home for a whole year,” she says. “I felt bad about this but I had no choice.” She helped with the housework, but she felt her stepfather (at that time) was abusive towards her and this prompted her to make alternative plans. After a year, I met a man, Tomasi, (not his real name) and we decided to get intimate,” Amelia says. “I didn’t like staying at home because I was not going to school, so running away from home and living with him was the solution to my problems. This man was my ‘rescue’.” 

Tomasi’s parents paid for Amelia’s education and she studied at a prominent university in Suva, majoring in hospitality and tourism, as this was her passion. Tomasi was also a student at the same university but eventually dropped out of school. 

Tomasi and Amelia never used protection whilst having sex because Tomasi did not support the idea of using condoms. “So, we never used any,” she says. “Two months after I enrolled into college, I was pregnant. When I told him, he said it couldn’t be his and he left me without saying goodbye.” His reaction devastated her, but worse was yet to come. “His parents took me back to my parents and asked them for forgiveness, asking them to take me back. I wanted to ask, why do I need forgiveness?”. Having a child to support without an income has proved difficult for Amelia. She had suicidal thoughts and she continued to say that “I’m seeing my life go downhill because my child is another burden.” Amelia’s family took her back with open arms and 9 months later she gave birth to a healthy baby girl. 

When the MSP team visited her village, Amelia was very interested in the awareness sessions and decided to get a Jadelle insertion (contraceptive implant). This is a long-term family planning method (up to five years). She has considered this in the past but was never confident enough to visit the health facility to get it done. “The presentation from MSP was very detailed and this gave me the confidence I never had. Her child is now 6 months old. Armed with this confidence and her newly gained knowledge of sexual and reproductive health, Amelia now reaches out to other youngsters who find themselves in her position. “I have been helping to educate other girls. I teach them about family planning, how to use condoms and about other methods of contraception,” she says. She also encourages them to visit MSP to access services. With the support of MSP and her immediate family, Amelia can see a new beginning for herself. “I’m happy to be on family planning. She now envisions a brighter future for herself and her child.  My dream is to return to school once my baby girl is bigger and be able to depend on myself. Now, I feel like my dreams will be achieved,” she says.

Note: Amelia and Tomasi are fictional names used to protect the identity of the client. 

Medical Services Pacific Outreach Team Takes Rotuma

It is an exciting time at the Medical Services Pacific (MSP) office in Suva. Our outreach team has travelled to far-flung Rotuma for two full weeks to provide much-needed medical services and educational programs to the remotest maritime islands.

This is the first trip to the island of Rotuma by the MSP Outreach team, who have identified a need for their health and social services in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Medical Services.

The MSP team includes a registered nurse, registered lawyer, a qualified Rotuman Counsellor and field staff. The Outreach team will provide integrated Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (Child Protection) services and promote awareness of the national Child Helpline.

The outreach is only made possible through the support and funding provided by Fiji Women’s Fund.

In Rotuma, MSP staff will collaborate with the divisional medical teams, district education officers, and government stakeholders to build relationships, strengthen referrals and ensure sustainable service provision. We hope to return with a better understanding of the services needed, and a lot of new friends and colleagues.

MSP is expected to visit all districts in Rotuma, namely Noa’tau, Oinafa, Pepji, Mala’a, Itumuta, and Juju. Here we will be providing Family Planning Services, Cervical, Prostate and Breast Cancer Checks, as well as education on Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights, Child Protection, Gender based Violence, and Maternal Health.

In local communities, MSP provides Child Protection awareness and training for both adults and children and promotes the use of the Child Helpline to report cases of child abuse or to obtain information and social services. MSP  offers age-appropriate Reproductive Health classes with their trademark Girl Empowered materials for teenagers.

The team of educators and medical staff  departed on the 8th of February in 2019 and will return two weeks later on the 22nd of February.

With them they will bring stories, successes, and insights about services needed in Rotuma and greater Fiji.

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Medical Services Pacific Kicks off 16 Days of Activism in Central and Northern

16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is an international campaign to challenge violence against women and girls. The campaign runs every year from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day. Medical Services Pacific partnered with the Nausori Health Centre and Nausori Market and provided a 2-day market outreach for women and girls at the Nausori Market. The market vendors were able to access free reproductive health, psycho social and counselling services and legal aid services. The gender officer created awareness on gender-based and the professional health staff addressed any needs.



MSP’s planned activities for the 16 Days of Activism are”
26 – 27 November Nausori Market outreach
28 November- Wainawa village outreach
28 November – Savusavu Women’s Craft Show
6 December Qauia Village Violence Against Women (VAW)
10 December- Annual Human Rights Day march organised by the NGO Coalition on Human Rights

Medical Services Pacific Kicks off 16 Days of Activism & World AIDS Day

16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is an international campaign to challenge violence against women and girls. The campaign runs every year from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day. Medical Services Pacific partnered with the Nausori Health Centre and Nausori Market and provided a 2-day market outreach for women and girls at the Nausori Market. The market vendors were able to access free reproductive health, psycho social and counselling services and legal aid services. The gender officer created awareness on gender-based and the professional health staff addressed any needs.


MSP’s planned activities for the 16 Days of Activism are”

26 – 27 November Nausori Market outreach

28 November- Wainawa village outreach

28 November – Savusavu Women’s Craft Show

4-5 December – Qauia village/ VAW

10 December- Annual Human Rights Day march organised by the NGO Coalition on Human Rights


World Aids Day “Know Your HIV Status”

Medical Services Pacific is marking the World Aids Day by having a Free Open Clinic on the 30th November from 9 am – 5 pm. The Theme for 2018 is “Know Your HIV status”. The clinic was open to the general public with FREE HIV and STI Testing, condom giveaways, counselling, breast and cervical examination, awareness around Girl empowered and Legal Aid and social services. MSP also joined the National World AIDS Day march procession on 1 December from Flea Market to Sukuna Park organized by Ministry of Health and Medical Services.



UN Women on the ‘Grand Bargain’ and MSP!

Medical Services Pacific feels incredibly humbled to highlighted in this UN Women article on disaster response in the Pacific.

It states; “Medical Services Pacific (MSP), one the organisations UN Women is supporting through GAI funding, is expanding health and social services to Labasa in the Northern Division of Vanua Levu, Fiji. Founder and Executive Director of MSP, Jennifer Poole, said, “now we can provide rapid humanitarian assistance in the Northern Division from day one of a disaster [as a result of UN Women and Global Acceleration Instrument (GAI) support]”. The new MSP center in Vanua Levu will provide holistic health and social services, including comprehensive services for survivors of violence,” Poole added.”

Read more of the article here; http://asiapacific.unwomen.org/en/news-and-events/stories/2017/08/putting-the-grand-bargain-into-action-in-the-pacific


#Myoceanmatters #PYO2017

Medical Services Pacific fully supports the movement that is My Oceans Matter 2017, Pacific year for the Ocean. We encourage everyone to do their part in making changes in their everyday lives towards having a healthier ocean. Visit www.pacificdf.org for information on how to get involved.


#Myoceanmaters #PYO2017

#Myoceanmaters #PYO2017

Medical Services Pacific and our One-Stop-Shop Clinic

Our One-Stop-Shop Free Health Clinic for women and youth is open 6 days a week from Monday to Saturday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Our Gynecologist is on Monday to Thursday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and on Saturdays from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. You have access to free holistic health care inclusive of free clinical services, free legal advice as well as free counselling. Call (+679) 363-0041 to make an appointment or stop by!


One Stop Shop

MSP supports Breast Cancer Awareness

MSP Breast Health Day
October was Breast Cancer awareness month, Breast Cancer is the most common cancer in Fiji. If breast cancer is detected early it can be treated before it spreads to other parts of the body, most breast lumps are not cancerous but it’s always best to have them checked by a doctor or nurse.

To support International Breast Cancer Awareness month, MSP held a Breast Health Day on 27 October. We wanted to reach a varied client base so we used community radio, social media, staff networks, and handed out flyers on the street to attract clients. We had clients who had travelled from some remote villages and remote islands, after hearing about our services on the radio, or through their networks.







It was difficult for MSP to predict the numbers that would arrive on the day to utilise our services, the reality far outweighed our expectations. The tea, coffee, refreshments and pink cupcakes were a huge hit as people waited for short periods. At times we had groups of 8 people or more arrive at one time, we made sure to distribute people amongst the different areas so we did not have people waiting for too long. When we hold a similar event we would consider having an additional medical professional on hand, at 5pm we had to ask people to come back on an alternate day because we ran out of time to see everyone.

As a result of not being able to see everyone on the day, we have had many return visitors who have come in and enquired about getting their breast examination completed. Over the course of the next few weeks we are sure to see more return visitors.


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MSP set up two breast examination and cervical screening rooms and a Sexual Reproductive Health and Bra Fitting room. In addition, counselling services, legal services and general health enquiries were answered by staff during the day. All rooms and staff were very busy indeed.

The Sexual Reproductive Health and Bra fitting room saw a total of 76 clients over the course of the day, we made sure to customise information given depending on the age bracket. The age range was varied between 14 and 66 years. A total of 283 bras were given away and some visitors provided a small donation. Before giving away the bras, the MSP team made sure the client was competent in how to measure their bra size for a perfect fit. The choice kit was used to showcase the contraception options available and 60 packs of Emergency Contraceptive Pill was given to women at their request. The SRH room saw lots of students from a tourism college that is down the road from our offices, with ages ranging from 18 to 25 the team went through some sections of the Girl Empowered book including contraception and preventing teenage pregnancy.

The two Doctor’s and Nursing Practioners completed 62 breast checks, 10 cervical screens and 2 IUCD’s, with 2 referrals to the hospital for further investigation after breast checks. A follow up will be done with the clients that were referred to the hospital and counselling was provided on the day, results will be provided to those who had cervical screening in 2 weeks’ time. Some clients had never had their breasts examined before and were extremely grateful for this free service, many customers also noted that they had not heard about MSP before today and would definitely be returning to MSP.

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Some other comments from clients during the day included “ I heard about this wonderful service on the radio and travelled from my village”, “Thank you so much MSP, I will be back” , “I am texting my friends right now and telling them to come down here”

We also received this email from a client:

“I am a 63 year old grandmother. I heard about the free breast examination day from my daughter. After 30 plus years, I had my paps smear test done and also a breast examination. I am glad that I got the examination done at MSP. I was very nervous in the beginning but the medical team was very understanding and made me feel at ease to access the service. It was also a learning experience for me. The staffs were friendly and I got to meet other women who were there for similar examination. I am looking forward to my paps result. MSP should hold events like this more often. Thank you MSP!”

MSP had MSP and Girl empowered wrist bands available as well as condoms and other giveaways. It was a very successful day for MSP, having 76 clients utilising our services and increasing the communities’ knowledge of Breast Health and MSP services.