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Organisation commended for investing $1.5 million on Fiji’s rehabilitation work

The MAA International (Muslim Aid Australia), a Non-Government Organisation has been commended by the Fijian Government for its wide assistance provided towards the rebuilding of lives of families affected by Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston.

In 2015, MAA started working in Fiji through 5 major development programs and in doing so the organisation has spent over FJD $1.5 million dollars. The programs in areas of education, housing, food aid, emergency relief and sustainable development has benefited over 4000 people Fiji wide, from all ethnic backgrounds.

As part of the housing assistance, MAA International has also spend over $292,454 in rebuilding of over 50 homes for families who lost all their belongings in cyclone Winston. The handing over of the keys for the 40 new homes built in the modular homes in the Clopcott settlement in Ba. Charity homes have also been built in areas of Ra and Nadi. The beneficiaries in Ba were presented with the keys for their new homes, yesterday by Minister for Health and Medical Services, Hon. Rosy Akbar. 

Minister Akbar commended the MAA International Organisation for its tremendous support and commitment in the rebuilding the lives of families in Fiji. 

“We are very thankful to all the partners, donors and NGO’s who have helped to rebuild the lives of families and one such organisation that has made a huge impact is MAA International. So on behalf of the Fijian Government and all the families that you have assisted, I would like to sincerely thank the team of MAA International for indeed making an extraordinary effort to reachout to the needy families.

“Such housing programs greatly compliments the Fijian Governments Help for Home Initiative. We look forward for strengthened collaboration with the MAA International to further broaden the opportunities for development in Fiji,” Minister Akbar elaborated.

Director MAA International Projects, Mr Saed Khan said all the projects are based on the principles of professionalism, best practices to assist the most needy communities, regardless of race or nationality.

“We are involved in 5 different programs in Fiji and all these are open to all people and one of the first one is the provision of education scholarship grants. In 2016, we assisted 65 students with scholarships to for tertiary education and we have spent about $315,000 in this education project. In terms of assistance during emergency, after TC Winston, we have distributed 33 tonnes of food rations benefiting the local economy at the time when it was needed.

“The other project is building of modular homes, we have already built 45 of it and 15 charity homes and we also provided building materials to families and in emergency we have spent half a million dollars this year. Last year, we have also distributed 5000 food aid packs to the families here last year. In total MAA International has spent over $1.5 million in Fiji and we are committed to same amount of aid in 2017 and onwards,” Mr Khan said.

For the 80 year Mr Ram Badan, getting new home was like a prayer being answered, after being homeless for the last 7 years he was living under the Ba Bridge.

“Living under the bridge was the most difficult time of my life. I didn’t have anywhere to go so I lived under the bridge, the thought of having a home was only a dream. And now I have a new home and I now have the opportunity to live among people who care for me. I am thankful to MAA for giving me this new life. I am also assisted by the social welfare assistance and with the new home, this assistance will go a long way in enabling me to live a dignified life,” Mr Badan said.

Mr Lekima Ratu, the 56 year old fisherman in Ba has also been assisted through MAA’s housing program.

“My house was destroyed in cyclone Winston and so far I had been staying with my Indian neighbour’s house.  I am pleased that I have been assisted with the new house and I would like to thank the MAA International for this much needed assistance that is a relief for our families,” Mr Ratu said.

Each house is built with a cost of around $6000 and it has been designed by the engineers with certified standards and the structure is also expandable.

MINISTRY MAXIMISES AWARENESS ON REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH PROGRAMS

Increasing community based programs is one of the key strategies of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services to raise awareness on the reproductive health development. Minister, Hon. Rosy Akbar reiterates that it will be achieved through providing a comprehensive and integrated reproductive health services in communities.

“In providing an enabling environment, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services is committed towards improving the accessibility to reproductive health services. The International Conference on Population Development (ICPD) Plan of Action affirms that reproductive rights embrace certain human rights that includes the recognition of basic rights of individuals to have the information and means to access highest standard of Reproductive Health services. Fiji is one of the Pacific Island Country (PIC) signatories of the ICPD.

“The Reproductive Health Policy of Fiji explicitly supports the rights of all women and men to have access to curative and preventive reproductive health services. It also takes note of the rights of young people to have access to youth friendly services, access to reproductive health information that will help them make responsible choices and in particular prevent unplanned pregnancy, STIs/HIV.

“The role of Non-Government Organizations (NGO’s) in raising awareness at community level on Reproductive Health and Family Planning services is notable. And linking of the public sector with these organizations has significantly contributed towards improving access to services especially to those hard-to-reach vulnerable groups,” Minister Akbar said.

The Health Ministry will also capitalize on a collaborative platform to enable active participation of the communities in responding to the reproductive health issues.

“Increased awareness is the key to enable the communities to understand the impact of Family Planning on their future health, livelihood and wellbeing. Strengthening the health systems response to unmet needs in terms of specialized nurses in Family Planning through provisions of training, availability of information and guidelines on Family Planning also needs to be addressed.

“It also means increasing accessibility of counseling services at all levels of health system including the community level. And empowerment of community health workers and general awareness on booking for antenatal clinic and through the stages of prenatal and postnatal care are some of the ways the Ministry will enhance the community based programs for reproductive health services,” Minister Akbar added.

Reproductive health services in Fiji covers a wide area of health care, the main ones include:

  • Safe Motherhood – encompasses maternal care and neonatal care
  • Infant and child care • Adolescent health care
  • Family Planning and Prevention of Abortion
  • STI-HIV prevention and management, and Basic Infertility services
  • Management of gynaecological morbidity – including reproductive tract cancers & infections.

Local nurses get training in Japan.

Local nurses get training in Japan.

nursesA team of ten nurses including clinical nurses, midwives and zone nurses left Fiji last week to undergo three weeks of training in Japan on the prevention and proper management of non-communicable diseases.

Through this program the nurses are expected to gain necessary skills, ideas and knowledge to provide more comprehensive treatment to patients, as well as train their colleagues for capacity building locally.

Speaking at the pre-departure orientation for the participants, Deputy Secretary Public Health of the Health Ministry Dr Eric Rafaai congratulated the nurses for being chosen for the program, at the same time reminding them of the opportunity to upskill their knowledge.

“I congratulate you all for being chosen to receive this training but let’s not forget the task ahead to effectively address the increasing cases on NCDs in the country” Dr Rafaai said.

“We have a NCD crisis in Fiji and I urge you to be focused in your mission as what you learn will be applied in the local context”, he added.

The Resident Rep for Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Mr Hiroyuki Sawada highlighted that this initiative has been an ongoing since 2014, and 600 nurses have been trained under the program so far.

Dr Rafaai thanked JICA for facilitating the program which has benefitted the people of Fiji and enhanced human resource development.