Fiji Healthcare Community Development Project

Company : Frontier
Location : Suva, Fiji
Duration: 4 weeks to 3 months
Approx Costs: 1250 to 2500 £ Pound (UK)

The Fiji Healthcare community development Project was launched in 2011, in the presence of over 90 community representatives and a local Farmers’ Cooperative Society with the objective of bringing about immediate and lasting change in the health and lives of the people of Fiji.

Fiji’s socio-economic demographic is changing fast.  It is clear that the healthcare industry needs to change with it, and have a clear plan to address the negative effects of urbanisation and modernisation.  At the same time the cost of healthcare and medical treatment is becoming increasingly expensive and is often unaffordable by the wider community where dietary problems are widespread and the most vulnerable suffer as a consequence.

It is the young and the old who lack access to appropriate medical attention and support programs.  Even the few patients who can afford to go to hospitals find the overcrowded system only addresses the symptoms of the disease through reactive drug treatment, and is unable to provide comprehensive care and advice to tackle the cause of the illness within the community.  

The Frontier Fiji Healthcare Project has highlighted education, training & research as the key priorities for charting population health and nutrition issues in Fiji. By engaging a community health outreach development unit this local healthcare NGO is spearheading awareness campaigns by way of focus group counselling and health team visits to the rural and urban communities. Key to this has been the education of disease prevention and mitigation, the importance of care and aftercare, disaster preparedness and the protection of children and the elderly, specifically aimed at promoting positive changes to existing public healthcare policies.  

Fiji has a growing poverty situation and the effects of population movement have led to increased demand on the health sector to cater for emerging disease in children, mothers and the elderly. The net result is that the people’s lifestyles have changed drastically over the last three decades and lack of awareness of the pressures of living in cities with widening boundaries, coupled with a lack of medi-care insurance programmes for all.  To make matters worse there is currently no existing programme to address population health issues and the Government is not in a position to invest in this area due to economic pressures, however healthcare issues cannot be neglected or remain outside of national focus due to other development priorities.  The work of this project looks to lead by example with a range of positive healthcare initiatives and outreach projects to bring about this change.



This is a fantastic opportunity for pre-med volunteers and individuals who are interested in forging a career within the healthcare field to learn about the running of a local healthcare and community NGO in Fiji.  Volunteers' activities will depend on their qualifications and experience as well as local staff working at the NGO at time of placement. With all placements we will endeavour to accommodate your own previous work experience, interests and skills while taking into account the changing needs and priorities of the healthcare organisation to which you are attached. Their priorities range from nutrition, health & fitness and general health advisory services.

You may find yourself working, assisting or observing in various departments within the clinic, this could include helping with the education and training of wellness officers, health and disease screening, raising health and nutrition awareness through talks and presentations, or taking part in local community outreach services. You may find you are also assisting with the general administration of the clinic, including database development and marketing activities via social media and web maintenance. Depending on your individual skills and experience tasks can also include report writing and editing, and research assistance either in the field or laboratory.  Volunteers are asked to remain flexible and use their initiative in order to get the most out of this placement.

You may have the opportunity to integrate within the wider community by providing mobile care, teaching and training at local schools and villages, however please be aware that this aspect of the project cannot be guaranteed and is dependent upon the needs of the project at the time of your visit.  This dimension to your work would focus on the nutrition and health awareness goals of the project.

For more experienced individuals (medical practitioners, qualified doctors and final year medical students) with determination, enthusiasm, aptitude and the right inclination may be able to assist the doctors and nurses at the clinic in their duties and gain hands-on experience of administering healthcare to the Fijian people.

Medical placement working hours can vary immensely. This can include making outreach calls and providing services in the evenings and on weekends. The key to your success will depend on how much you are willing to contribute and how hard you are able to work. Wherever you end up you will be offered a warm Fijian style welcome by your new colleagues who will be keen to greet enthusiastic and eager volunteers. You will be warmly embraced and then fully occupied with a range of duties. With an open mind and flexible attitude you will enjoy an experience to remember, make friends for life, and gain valuable work experience on important health related programmes.

All placements are dependent upon the submission of an up-to-date CV.

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