Medical Services Pacific Geared Up for Relief Response
Dignity & Reproductive, Maternal & Child Health services for the affected areas
A sad moment for the people of Fiji when Tropical Winston tore through Fiji waters, with the monsters eye over Koro Island. TC Winston, not only was the first Category 5 tropical cyclone of its size to hit Fiji, but became one of the strongest tropical cyclones on record in the Southern Hemisphere. As we know, the cyclone caused massive destruction in many parts of Fiji, with the West and Northern divisions badly affected along with the islands which faced some of the worst of the storm. When the MSP Outreach team visited rural communities, we asked how they prepared for the cyclone. Many did not prepare at all, as they did not understand what a Category 5 cyclone meant, in terms of strong winds. Everyone in Fiji now knows what “Category 5” means!
MSP has been participating in the emergency response inter agency meetings and in the department or cluster meetings run by the Ministry of Health & Medical services (e.g. Clinical & Family Health and Protection), the Ministry of Agriculture (For seed distribution), the Ministry of Women, and meetings chaired by the United Nations agencies such as the WASH meetings. MSP has been providing ongoing updates and reporting on our relief work.
MSP provides health and social services utilizing a dual approach which combines mobile clinics inclusive of medical services, counselling and protection services, with a referral system linked to the static clinic in Suva. MSP provides the only dedicated holistic post rape care clinic in Suva (specializing in services for children, girls and women). MSP also, operates the national Child Help line which is 24 hour counselling service staffed by qualified counsellors. The counsellors stayed in the office during the cyclone, to man the lines and keep them open 24 hours and when the power went out, they charged their phones in their cars in the winds. They are a brave and committed team dedicated to assisting women and children in Fiji.
MSP responded immediately by sending out the Mobile Clinical Outreach Team to affected areas. Assessments were undertaken in some of the major affected arrears within the central division initially, before MSP broadened services to the West and Northern Divisions. MSP’s main focus is to ensure women, youth and girls had access to health care and social services. Many of the community members were traumatized by this event and need psycho social support which our counsellors commenced to provide. Ongoing care and support will be required over the next few months.
On 29th February outreach team departed for Dawasamu primary school which was the evacuation centre, followed by Driti Village, Veilolo Settlement & Veikura settlement. Carefully, avoiding broken power lines & debris the team went forward with the mission to get health care and services to those families and individuals who needed medical care and assistance. Many children seen by our medical team, were suffering from boils and fevers. They also visited Navunisea District School which was an evacuation centre, and close by, they visited another small settlement called Silana where the Doctor provided general medical consultations and the counselling team provided psycho social support and services.
Counselling and services are required for all who survived. Families are devastated to see their hard work being destroyed within few hours. These are shocked and traumatized parents are unable to grasp the needs of their now traumatized children. The children also encountered such a frightful experience that they were shocked and are now afraid of the rain. Around 35,000 people containing children and elderly are now homeless.
The second round of relief response commenced in the second week. The Outreach team visited Bucalevu village & Sovusovu settlement (combined), Nabulini Village. Providing medical care, psycho social needs, Trauma counselling, stress management, grief & loss. The number of women and children turned up to our booth emphasized the great need for outreach to other communities. MSP’s outreach team worked throughout not just an 8 – 5 pm shift but with real commitment to their duties, they worked until 10 pm that evening. The Outreach team returned to MSP Suva, tired and somewhat shaken by the needs that they had encountered.
Thanking UNFPA and Asaleo Care for the Dignity packs which were distributed to communities in need. Without their kind donations our outreach would have been incomplete. UNFPA also provides the Male & Female condoms and emergencies supplies. Ministry of Health and Medical Services also supported MSP by stocking our trailer with Dignity kits. These kits assist Women and Girls who are more vulnerable during emergencies.
In March, the team visited Rakiraki and stopped by to coordinated their activities, bumping into H.E the President of Fiji, George Konrote who kindly took the time to take a photograph with the MSP team. The President is proudly holding the Child Helpline Poster and informational flyers.
MSP Weekly Relief Report
- 50 persons – reached with Safe motherhood awareness
- 20 ECP/RH kits distributed
- 50 Dignity Kits for women (household)
- 167 persons reached in group counselling sessions
- 167 persons reached in child protection
- 167 persons reached in WASH awareness
- The Child Helpline took over 487 calls during the month of February.
APPEAL FOR FUNDING SUPPORT
MSP has an appeal open and the team would welcome donations:
Support MSP Relief Activities
Suva (Branch), 1 Thomson Street, Suva, Fiji. Account: 9803803981
BSB: 039001 For international donations: SWIFT: WPACFJFX
A Big Vinaka Vakalevu to all those who have supported us!