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!

Dawasamu Primary School (Evacuation Centre)

Dawasamu Primary School (Evacuation Centre)

Navunisea District School (Evacuation Centre)

Navunisea District School (Evacuation Centre)








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.

Relief outreach at Driti Village, Tailevu.

Relief outreach at Driti Village, Tailevu.

Driti Village, Tailevu

Driti Village, Tailevu








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.

Dignity Packs given by MoHMS to MSP

Dignity Packs given by MoHMS to MSP

Dignity packs give away at Bureiwai Village

Dignity packs give away at Bureiwai Village








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.

President of Fiji Hon. George Konrote with MSP Relief Team

President of Fiji Hon. George Konrote with MSP Relief Team








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.


MSP has an appeal open and the team would welcome donations:

Support MSP Relief Activities

 Westpac Fiji

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!

MSP is going back to School !

MSP and the Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts have joined hands to raise awareness on Child Rights and Reproductive Health Rights, information and services.

On 19th October, Medical Services Pacific signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Education Heritage an Arts (MoEHA) to provide support for their Child Protection Officers, Counsellors and Teachers working in schools to raise awareness on human rights, child rights, gender equality and reproductive health rights and improve access to services for young girls. Specifically, MSP will be working closely with the MoEHA to develop informational materials and to support the distribution of the Girl Empowered informational package.


















GIRL EMPOWERED is a youth friendly educational resource which will be of great interest not only to girls and young women across Fiji, but also to educators, reproductive rights advocates and all others working with young people throughout Fiji. The Girl Empowered toolkit is specifically for high school students and above.

Access to sexual and reproductive health information is crucial if young people are to make informed decisions about their health and sexual relationships. However,  all reports from Fiji and the wider Pacific Island region, including the most call for action issued earlier this month by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community , suggest that there is not nearly enough information provided to girls and women about their sexual health.

Copies of GIRL EMPOWERED will be available to interested government agencies, schools, youth and student groups by contacting the MSP office. The new MOU with MoEHA will enable MSP to distribute and share this booklet with schools across Fiji.



MSP to launch Club 26 in November!

Club 26 – Will provide a safe space for youth, where they can gather, relax and obtain Information, Health and Social services and other support from the youth friendly staff.

MSP is establishing a dedicated youth friendly clinic and social services program to improve services for youth.  Club 26 is so named as it is for youth who are between the ages of 16 and 26 years in the Suva and Central Division. Club 26 will provide a safe space for youth, where they can meet with youth friendly counsellors, medical staff and legal advisers and other leaders to discuss a range of issues.

Across the Pacific, youth face reproductive health, mental health and other challenges with few Youth Friendly health and social service providers.  MSP projects are designed to support youth and by ensuring access to free sexual reproductive health and social services. MSP health projects specifically address risks to which young people in the Pacific are most vulnerable:

  1. Teenage pregnancy
  2. Unmet need for contraception
  3. STI, HIV/AIDS and RTIs
  4. Sexual violence and exploitation
  5. Mental Health Support

The Club 26 project is a great opportunity for young people to meet together in a safe social setting with access to information, counsellors and medical staff who can provide a range of advice and guidance on drug risks, smoking, sexual and general health issues. There will also be activities such as arts, music, computing and games.  Club 26 was designed with input from youth and the program will be led by a youth committee.

MSP – Providing Youth Friendly Health and Social Services, building youth capacity to cope with today’s challenges and promoting human rights to end VAWG. Focussing on youth is of critical importance for the development of Fiji. It is also important for increasing equality and changing attitudes and behaviours around gender violence and ending Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG).


 The Phoenix Survivors Group has been busy making candles for Diwali, and the 16 Days of Activism Campaign (International Women’s Day & candles and cupcakes) and Christmas. Contact to place orders.

Phoenix Candles

Phoenix Candles

Suicide Prevention – Who to call – When to call

What is your understanding of suicide?

Not very many people want to talk about the tragedy of suicide—especially when it involves young people. Taking one’s own life is generally considered taboo. The reasons people choose suicide are highly debated and often misunderstood. Unfortunately, its has become too common among the younger generation in Fiji. Suicide is now so common in Fiji, that it has jumped up to the third leading cause of death among youth (under 16) and those aged between 17 and 25 years.

This data alone should be enough to influence anyone and everyone to become more involved in their teenagers lives and to educate themselves about depression and teenage issues including suicide. We should all do our best to be able to recognize sadness, depression, illness, abuse or stress in youth or children who are close to us. However, sometimes, we cannot see the 

Call 1325

symptoms of depression so easily. That is why, it’s important to talk and listen to your children, friends and loved ones. If you see sadness, neglect, mental illness or any form of abuse, then share your concerns with specialists. Call the free helpline #1325 which is set up for children, youth and those who need information or support.

Child Helpline Fiji – Free call 1325 in Fiji

Child Helpline Fiji is a new nation-wide telephone help and support service for children and youth this is to give a voice to all those children and young people who are in need of advice, support, care and protection. It is staffed by qualified experienced counsellors and it is confidential.

Depression is one of the main conditions that may lead to an attempted suicide. If your teen is experiencing sadness, unusual mood swings, signs of depression, abuse or stress (even stress from school), concerns over an unplanned teenage pregnancy or other matters, please ask them to call 1325.

Youth, when you call, you will be speaking with one of our special adult counsellors who are great at listening and hearing what is going on with you. And they are good at helping everyone to solve all kinds of problems, small as well as large ones.

Be mindful of your loved ones and if you suspect a teen shows symptoms of stress or depression, try to connect with them and help them to open up to you about it, Or just let them know that there is someone who is always willing to listen to their concerns and that’s a friendly counselor on the Child Helpline Toll free call 1325. All conversations are confidential.

Be alert and listen to youth if they are struggling with something. Offer support and let them speak. Or call the Child Help Line for free counselling on 1325 for information, advice or support.

Never be afraid to ask the question,  ARE YOU OK?

Ask the question – Are you feeling sad, stressed or suicidal? And LISTEN to the child.  If a child or youth is feeling sad and suicidal, do ask them to promise to wait and ask them to call the child helpline on 1325 (its a free call). Let them know you care about them and would miss them and be ready to provide access to a phone so the child or youth can call the child helpline 1325. Or to take them immediately to seek counselling support.

There are high rates of child and youth sexual abuse in Fiji currently, the Government noted that there were 685 cases of child sexual abuse in 2014. Everyone has a role to play to assist children at risk.

Always be attentive and observe those who you think are suffering, or victims of neglect (hunger too), abuse (verbal or physical), violence, stress, addiction or suffering.  Look out and monitor their behavior (e.g. any unusual silences or withdrawal from activities) and consider changes in their activities. Look out for increased drug and alcohol use!  If concerned, ensure they have access to a phone and ask them to call 1325

Youth also suffer from stress and sadness, just like adults but often can’t see the options. However, you can save a life – by advising of the child helpline number 1325. Particularly if you think they or their friends might be at risk of contemplating suicide – share the number and give them access to a phone (its a toll free #). Though you may feel strange about “interfering in others lives,” it’s vital that you be there for youths to ensure that they get the help they need.

Finally, do hide dangerous drugs and poisons and keep weapons locked away. Monitor their appropriate and intended use and destroy unused medications.

Opening Hours:

The Child Helpline (CHL) is Government service for the youth of Fiji and 13 25 (toll free). The Child Helpline is currently open between 6 am and 6 pm 7 days per week (going to 24 hour service shortly). The MSP after hours call number for counselling support is 9910894.

Clink on this link and like us on Facebook and to get regular updates  : Child Helpline Fiji 

For general information and non urgent assistance, you can Skype: childhelpline fiji   or Email

You are never alone when you are near a phone,  there is always HELP and the Child Helpline counsellors on 1325 can assist you!


“A young woman with a mind full of knowledge and a deep self respect is better equipped to speak her mind, set clear boundaries, know she is worthy of going after her dreams and being a part of a healthy relationship.” MSP Youth.

MSP is proud to launch Girl Empowered: a new, practical guide to sexual and reproductive health designed especially for girls and young women in Fiji. It was launched by Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls Hon. Natasha Stott Despoja on 29th April and supported by Asaleo (Libra).  Girl Empowered is a resource manual developed to educate, empower and inspire girls through awareness on topics such as body changes and puberty, sexuality and relationships, contraception, pregnancy, diet and body image, bullying, and lifestyle choices. This enables girls and young women to have a responsible and safer sex life and to have the freedom to decide if, when and how often to have children.This guide is where all girls and young women of all races, individualities and socio-economic backgrounds can find common ground and engage in intelligent decision making. Schools can use this resource booklet to have open discussions on relationships, reproductive health and hygiene. MSP will be conducting outreach to schools to discuss Girl Empowered over the coming months.








Listening to the Kids – the Children’s Helpline and World Day Against Child Labour

Friday 12th June is the World Day Against Child Labour, which seeks to bring awareness and action to eliminate child labour around the world. In its most extreme forms, child labour involves children being enslaved, separated from their families, exposed to serious hazards and illnesses or left to fend for themselves on the streets of large cities often at a very early age. However not all work done by children can be classified as child labour. Children’s or adolescents’ participation in work that does not affect their health and personal development or interfere with their schooling is generally regarded as being something positive. This includes activities such as helping their parents around the home, assisting in a family business or earning pocket money outside school hours and can provide them with skills and experience useful for the future.

Labour that jeopardises the physical, mental or moral well-being of a child, either because of its nature or because of the conditions in which it is carried out, is known as “hazardous work” and must be eliminated.

When to call Child Helpline (Free Call) 1325

If you see or hear about any child being forced to work under the age of 15 you can call the Child Helpline Fiji. The Child Helpline is a new telephone counselling service that’s for kids or for anyone who is concerned about a child. Child Helpline Fiji is about helping children solve their problems. Kids can now call this toll free number to report if they are forced to do any form of hazardous work.

Please call Child Helpline if you are or if you know a child working in a job that:

  • is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful;
  • interferes with their schooling by depriving them of the opportunity to attend school;
  • obliging them to leave school prematurely; or
  • requires them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work

 How can Child Helpline assist?

You can call by mobile or landline from anywhere in Fiji for free on 1325 anytime between 6 am and 6 pm every day. One of our counsellors will answer and give you their name; they are here to listen to you and they speak all of Fiji’s national languages. Our counsellors are here to help if you want to talk about something that is worrying you, they are great at helping kids solve all kinds of problems.  Children and young people, or people concerned about children, living anywhere in Fiji can call the Child Helpline.

Remember: you’re not alone if you’re near a phone! If you need to talk you can call us at 1325.

New candle-making business is a shining light for survivors of sexual violence

A new small business created by young survivors of sexual violence is helping to increase confidence and build new skills and resilience among survivors and their families.

Marking International Women’s Day, Candles for Survivors was launched by the President of the Republic of Fiji, Hon. Ratu Epeli Nailatikau on 6 March 2015.









The business is the brainchild of Medical Services Pacific’s Phoenix Survivors Network (PSN) which brings together survivors of sexual violence and their families for counseling, mutual support and recreational and therapeutic activities.  MSP’s Executive Director, Jennifer Poole, explained: “The group chose the name ‘Phoenix Survivors’ to symbolize them ‘rising from the ashes’, inspired by hope, healing and new beginnings.”

After the official launch, MSP staff and Aspire Network volunteers traveled across Suva selling candles and home-baked cupcakes at government offices, embassies, high commissions and in the town centers.

“Over 200 candles were sold, exceeding the Phoenix Survivors Network’s highest expectations,” said Jennifer Poole. “We feel so encouraged by the public’s care and support and we hope to make the sales of candles and cupcakes for survivors an annual event at MSP to mark International Women’s Day.” Through Candles for Survivors, the Phoenix Survivors Network plan to continuing making and selling candles during the year, with all proceeds used to support child and youth survivors of sexual violence, and their families.

If you are interesting in purchasing some candles, please contact or

Coconut and ginger scented candles made by Phoenix Survivors Network

MSP awarded contract to operate Child Helpline Fiji

MSP is set to operate Child Helpline Fiji, the new national free phone line for children and youth, after being awarded the contract by the Government of Fiji and the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation.

After careful study and extensive consultation with local authorities and civil society, the Fiji Government concluded there was a pressing need for a safe, confidential and accessible channel available for all Fiji’s children to seek help and advice. MSP was successful in gaining the contract after responding to the government’s call for proposals in December 2014.

Easy access to Child Helpline Fiji for children and youth!

Created as a vital new access point to strengthen Fiji’s child protection system, Child Helpline Fiji will give children and youth easy access by free mobile phone or land line to counseling support, information and referral to community agencies. Child Helpline counsellors will be available initially for 12 hours daily and, by July 2015, for 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The toll free national phone number for Child Helpline Fiji is 3125. Professional counseling staff based at MSP will be able to speak to children in the country’s three national languages.

MSP leads planning and testing prior to Child Helpline Fiji’s launch

Executive Director, Jennifer Poole, and  the Senior Counsellor and lead for Child Helpline Fiji’s operations have been busy over the past two months setting up the telecommunications infrastructure, developing a policy framework, hiring and training staff, and pilot testing. This work has been carried out in close collaboration with the Child Helpline Steering Committee which includes representation from the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, the Ministry of Education and the Fiji Police Force.  The three major telecommunications companies in Fiji –  Digicel, Vodafone and Telecom Fiji Limited – have also been directly involved in supplying the dedicated phone line and support for the single national Child Helpline Fiji free phone number 1325. To contact a child/youth counselor email

Signing of the memorandum of understanding

Signing of the memorandum of understanding









Stay tuned for the Government’s launch of Child Helpline Fiji in coming weeks and a national campaign for children and youth to follow in June!

MSP launches ‘One-Stop Shop’, inks deals with government and becomes Fiji’s first NGO to provide emergency treatment for potential exposure to HIV

MSP’s newly branded “One-Stop Shop” Suva clinic officially open for business!

The wonderful Australian Ambassador for Women and Girls was guest of honour at the opening of our newly branded ‘One-Stop Shop’ health clinic at 355 Waimanu Road. Ms Natasha Stott Despoja officially opened the clinic, ceremoniously cutting the ribbon on Thursday 27 November in front of a crowd of more than 30 guests, including the Police Commissioner Ben Groenewald, Ministry of Health representative Dr Dashika Balak, and our Australian Government donor partners from DFAT and FCDP.

Our new ‘One-Stop Shop’ branding signifies our holistic approach to health care, with a doctor to care for the physical needs of our clients, a counsellor to care for the mental needs of our clients, and a legal aid officer to care for the gender and child rights of our clients.

Read the official news coverage of the opening here.

Our One-Stop Shop is open to women and youth in need from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday. Bookings can be made on (679) 363 0108. After hours services for survivors can be arranged by contacting our after hours number (679) 991 0894.

MSP actively strengthens partnerships to improve services for Fijians

Survivors of sexual assault will continue to receive immediate, confidential healthcare services from MSP under a re-signing of a two-year Memorandum of Agreement with the Fiji Police Force this November. Free medical examinations, clinical care and counselling are all provided under the MOA, which seeks to ensure a high quality of health care for those affected by gender violence and sexual assault.

The Fiji Police Force has referred more than 168 survivors of sexual assault to MSP since the signing of the first MOA.

MSP would also like to welcome our new official partner to our team – the Dental Students Association of the Fiji National University!

MSP’s Executive Director Ms Jennifer Poole was delighted to sign a Memorandum of Agreement with DSA President Mr Octavian Detauamo this November, outlining a partnership where dental students and their supervisors will provide oral examinations and teeth extractions at MSP’s upcoming Health Fairs.

MSP staff sharpen their skills to better serve the community

MSP prides itself on providing the highest quality of services to women and youth in need. To keep ourselves sharp and our quality of services high, all thirteen MSP staff underwent a two-day training workshop on 5th and 6th of November to enhance their skills. From IT training to Monitoring and Evaluation to clinical standards, we slogged through 16 solid hours of training and have come out the other end inspired and ready to put into practice everything we learned.

MSP the first NGO to be able to provide PEP medications to survivors

Furthermore in November, MSP’s Dr Elvira attended a HIV Care and ART Management training workshop to provide PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis) treatment onsite at the MSP clinic. This initial anti-retroviral medication is obtained for survivors of sexual assault and it can reduce their risk of contracting HIV if taken within 72 hours (three days) after having either unprotected sex or other dangerous exposure. This is just another FIRST for MSP – we are the first NGO to hold the PEP treatment inhouse. We are extremely excited by this important addition to our medical services for survivors of sexual assault.

Stop HIV

A huge vinaka vaka levu to all of you for being part of the MSP family. Until next time!

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MSP Celebrates Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

International Day of Rural Women

On 15 October Medical Services Pacific (MSP), with the contribution of many generous women, provided free bras to rural women in Lawai Village and to female market vendors at Sigatoka Town in celebration of the International Day of Rural Women.

The kind donation of eleven boxes of undergarments was given by Fijian expats Dr Temalesi McCaig and Nurse Coordinator Vunirewa Uuilakeba. This was a gift in recognition of the lack of access many rural women face in regards to apparel shopping and finding affordable, comfortable bras.

“We are deeply grateful for this generous donation by Dr Tema and Mr Vunirewa, who collected the bras in New Zealand, and for the support and assistance with freight donation from Rotary Auckland, Ms Pauline Watson, Ms Tina Gunn and the Uplift Project, and the wonderful team at Air New Zealand. Together with the MSP outreach team, we have been able to support rural women on the International Day of Rural Women.”

The bra giveaways provided MSP an important opportunity to raise awareness on the importance of regular health checks to prevent breast and cervical cancer.

“Early detection is extremely important and provides an opportunity for effective treatment of cervical cancer.  The free bra giveaways were an added bonus to support women and girls who attended a cancer screening or a health check this month,” said MSP’s Executive Director Jennifer Poole.


International Day of the Girl Child

International Day of the Girl Child

In recognition of the deep need to promote girls’ rights, highlight gender inequalities and address discrimination and abuse suffered by girls around the globe, the United Nations has created an international day of recognition for the girl child.

In celebration of this day, on 11 October MSP reached out to more than 30 children at St Christopher’s Orphanage in Nakasi. We provided free counselling sessions and our Legal Aid Officer was at hand to attend to the children and to answer any questions they may have. We would like to thank the St Christopher’s for hosting us and giving us the chance to reach out to these young children.

Corporate Outreach to MindPearl 

On the 22nd of October, MSP was chosen to do a medical outreach for breast and cervical cancer awareness at MindPearl. Around 70 staff members were seen in total, with more than half of these accessing cervical cancer screening services.

In recognition of the importance of our work, and in thanks for the provision of our remarkable services, MindPearl announced MSP as the charitable organisation to be the recipient of funds raised from the company’s pink ribbon sales throughout October.

We are grateful for this kind gesture that MindPearl has showed towards us in helping us pursue our wonderful services to the communities and to our corporate partners, and we are looking forward to working with them in the future. We are always looking forward to working in partnership with corporate “businesses” who are committed to gender equality and promoting healthy living.


A month of partnerships

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.

Partnering up

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.


National Rheumatic Heart Disease Awareness Week

Bula vinaka, friends and colleagues – and welcome to a special edition of the MSP blog, in support of the national Fiji Rheumatic Heart Disease Awareness Week, which ran 2nd to 7th of June 2014 – an initiative of the Rotary Club of Suva in partnership with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education.

The aim of the campaign was bold but simple: that every school child and parent across Fiji would know what RHD was.

MSP was fortunate to be involved as the communications consultant for the campaign. Our work was funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, through their Direct Aid Program, as part of their support for the campaign.

Working with members of Rotary, MOH and MOE, MSP led the development of a suite of educational materials, including pamphlets, posters and a teaching program.. These were then distributed to every single primary and secondary school across Fiji (a massive feat which took three nights and about 50 volunteers to package the materials up for distribution – a huge vinaka vakalevu to all who helped!)

Here is MSP testing out the draft pamphlets and posters on children and parents in the community in the early stages of developing the final suite of materials….

And the final product!

MSP then worked with the rest of the team on developing a media blitz campaign, including radio, print and television advertising, a social media campaign and a week-long schedule of events around raising awareness of RHD in Fiji. Check out the TV campaign here, starring real life RHD sufferers: Fiji Rheumatic Heart Disease Awareness video – A Sore Throat Can Kill You

Then finally our months of hard work came to its final hurrah: Campaign Week!

Day 1: A Sore Throat Can Kill You – RHD Awareness Week Campaign Launch
Day 2: The RHD Teaching Program is delivered in schools across Fiji
Day 3: CWM Hospital Cardiac Specialist talks about how RHD is diagnosed and managed
Day 4: MSP raises awareness on RHD at Kasavu Village
Day 5: MOH takes the NCD bus to Kasavu Primary School to perform free RHD screenings on the children
Day 6: The RHD Awareness Campaign culminates in a themed Westpac Health Walk!

And through our work, we also had the privilege of speaking with several people living with RHD, and hearing their personal experiences. Mr Ilaitia Usa is one such person who is truly inspirational. You can read his story here:

It has been an amazing experience to be part of this campaign: to witness the message go out to the public, to know that lives can be saved.

Vinaka vakalevu to everybody involved in this campaign. It was a task of gigantic proportions, but how rewarding to see this hard work in action, and the message spread across Fiji.

To find out more about RHD, visit the MOH’s webpage on the disease, put up as part of the campaign week:

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