Fiji is a tropical, friendly yet unusual place to spend some time on a medical elective placement.
Our medical programs in Fiji are a world away from the luxury tourist resorts which form many people’s perception of the islands. Fiji is without a doubt a beautiful place, with secluded white beaches, snorkelling, diving and fishing. Immerse yourself in the culture, learn to live on ‘Fiji time’ and experience island life.
We work with all of the major hospitals and clinics on the main island located in and around Suva, Lautoka and Sigatoka. There are also great placements on the second largest island of Vanua Levu at the hospitals in Savusavu and Labasa as well as a remote clinic. We also have some placements for students to get involved in health care projects with the local community.
The hospitals welcome medical students doing their medical elective however you must be in the final 1-2 years of your degree. You may choose your preferred area including Medical, Surgery, Paediatrics, O&G, Community Medicine, Dentistry or Physiotherapy. Typical hours of duty at the hospitals are 8 am – 4.30 pm Monday to Friday. We arrange the local medical registration which may take up to 1 month to complete and there are only limited places available. Therefore please register for your place around a year in advance!!
As with all volunteering projects you will need an open mind, a level of resourcefulness, patience and a flexible attitude.
The remote medical clinic on Viti Levu (main island)
The clinic was established in 2011 jointly by the Ministry of Health and the local universities and is funded by charitable donations. There are two general practitioners, two part-time specialists, two nurses plus several support staff. Free medical services are available to everyone and there are around 15,000 people in the district. The clinic is open Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 4:00pm. The team are involved in research, training and community education as well as providing clinical services.
Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, heart disease are an increasing issue for the local community and are responsible for most visits to doctors, hospitals, early retirement and early death for both men and women. The major risk factors for NCD are obesity, lack of exercise, eating the wrong food, smoking and excessive drinking of alcohol and kava. The clinic therefore provides general outpatient services and a special clinic is run on Thursdays for those with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. There is an outreach program run by a nurse to ensure that known diabetics and hypertensives comply with their treatment and the clinic provides free medication.
Dental hygiene and health is very poor in the community especially amongst children and there is a purpose built dental surgery which is in the process of being equipped.
(Forward your completed Volunteer Application Form so that we can hold your place)
Research is being undertaken on reducing NCD risk factors in the community and evaluate the effectiveness of interventions. Strategies are being developed to empower women to become more proactive in reducing NCD risk factors for their families. This includes reducing sugar and salt, using less saturated fats and encouraging more exercise in the family.
The clinic is served by two Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and there is a comprehensive project on Reproductive Health underway. Fiji has one of the highest incidences of cervical cancer and it is the most common cause of cancer deaths in women. This is a preventable disease and hence strategies need to be worked out to increase the uptake of screening for cervical cancer.
There is a high rate of unplanned pregnancies with a high unmet need for contraception. Sexually Transmitted Infections and Gender Based Violence are other challenges. There is a strong belief that the empowered woman can contribute even more to society by maintaining good physical, mental, spiritual and social health.
COST: (Viti Levu Clinic)
Other durations are available.
INCLUSIONS (Viti Levu Clinic): Pre-departure advice, support and information pack, Contribution to the Clinic, Airport transfers, Accommodation at a comfortable guesthouse in a twin bedded room with ensuite bathroom, ceiling fan, air-conditioning and coffee making facilities. Daily continental breakfast and tropical dinner, A swimming pool is onsite along with a variety of sporting activities, On Site Medical Supervisor. DocTours T-shirt and personalised luggage labels.
EXCLUSIONS (Viti Levu Clinic): Lunches, snacks and drinks, Items of a personal nature (eg telephone and laundry), Travel Insurance, Medical Elective Registration Fees of FJD$510 (AUD$340), Work Permit of FJD$190 (AUD$130) – payable in Fiji, Passport fees, Vaccinations, Flights (and taxes) to and from Nadi, Fiji.
The large public hospitals continue to experience shortages of doctors, nurses and consumables and therefore they will appreciate your assistance to lend a hand and possibly take some medical supplies.
The most common local conditions include NCD’s (particularly diabetes and heart disease), drownings and general medicine. All departments and specialties are short-staffed and therefore there are only limited places available for students. The skills that are most in need include general surgeons, orthopaedics, anaesthetists, pharmacists, O&G, dentistry, ICU and A&E.
Volunteers are welcomed with a short orientation at the hospital and will work alongside a local staff member. We provide you with an information booklet and a list of recommended items to take with you.
|Location||Duration||Cost per Student From AUD||Accommodation type – please ask for more options|
|Guesthouse with own room with fan and ensuite bathroom. Breakfast included and there is a communial kitchen. Close to the hospital.|
|Accommodation on a twin-share basis. Comfortable guesthouse with private room, ensuite bathroom, air-con and kitchenette. There is a café onsite and swimming pool. Located close to the hospital, a supermarket is across the road.|
|Self-contained apartment (may be shared with other medical students of the same gender), ceiling fans, daily housekeeping, laundry service and swimming pool onsite. Take a local bus to/from hospital.|
|Self-contained apartment with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms available only for visiting medical teams. Own room with cooking and laundry facilities, fans, air-con, wifi and Sky TV. Linen is provided and there is a fortnightly cleaning service. The hospital is a 10 minute walk or take a local bus or taxi.|
|Motel with own room with fan and air-conditioning located close to the hospital. There is a café and laundry service. Upgrade available for self-contained apartment.|
INCLUSIONS: Transfer from nearest Airport, Placement with pre-departure advice, support and information pack, Accommodation and Medical Supervisor. DocTours t-shirt and personal luggage label.
EXCLUSIONS: Meals and Drinks, Items of a personal nature (eg telephone and laundry), Travel Insurance, Vaccinations and Passport fees, Medical elective registration fees of FJD510 (A$340) – we can pay this on your behalf if you add this amount to the deposit that you pay us (ie it will save you the international bank transfer fees), Medical Elective Student Work Permit of FJD190 (A$130) payable in Fiji, Flights (and taxes) to and from your destination in Fiji.
ORIENTATION: You will fly into Nadi International Airport and then, depending on your actual placement, connect to the nearest domestic Airport and then transfer to your accommodation. In most cases, accommodation is at a comfortable guesthouse in a private room with fan, tv, tea & coffee making facilities and ensuite bathroom with shower. Restaurant or dining facility (in some cases a kitchenette) are available and sometimes a a swimming pool. You can look forward to trying a variety of local dishes including taro, breadfruit, sweet potato, cassava chips, coconut, curries, fabulous seafood and fresh tropical fruit. A Fijian speciality is a lovo feast, which is a meal cooked in a hole in the ground – unusual but delicious!
STUDENT MEDICAL INDEMNITY: We recommend that you advise your student indemnity provider of your volunteer work in advance of travel.
DEPOSIT: Processing of your Volunteer Application Form can be initiated once we have received your deposit. Due with your enclosed Application Form is AUD$495 per person. This deposit is non-refundable once your placement is confirmed.
FINAL PAYMENT: Final payment is due two months prior to departure or on receipt of invoice if travelling in less than two months. Apologies but payments by Visa and Master Card will incur a 1.5% fee and American Express 3.0%.
FLIGHTS: We recommend booking your own flights with Fiji Airways or Virgin on the internet. Contact STA Travel if you would like assistance with your flights, optional tours or travel insurance. STA Travel provides special offers and benefits for volunteers and therefore please call direct: Email: email@example.com Phone: 1300 675 435
VISAS: Visitor Visas are currently issued on arrival for those for most passports for visits up to 4 months in Fiji.
TRAVEL INSURANCE: It is a condition of your travel arrangements that you have current travel insurance to cover against cancellation fees, medical expenses, lost luggage and evacuation. We suggest Avant as they provide free travel insurance for medical students on their elective program.
CANCELLATION FEES: Please refer to our Terms & Conditions. Please note that all costs are subject to change due to increases in taxes, hotel and volunteer price increases, as well as currency adjustments.