Health Challenges

1. Non Communicable Diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity are responsible for most visits to doctors, admissions to hospitals, early retirement and early death. This is true both for 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.

Meeting the challenge

Clinical Service

  • VSHC provides general outpatient clinical services. A special clinic is run on Thursdays for those with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Standard protocols for treatment developed by the Ministry of Health are used. There is an outreach program provided by a nurse and a nurse practitioner to ensure that known diabetics and hypertensives are compliant with their treatment. The health centre also provides free medication as patients are often unable to buy adequate supplies of necessary drugs.


  • The NCD Research Project is a large team effort that VSHC initially undertook in collaboration with the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and the Ministry of Health to reduce NCD risk factors in the community. After the first year the funding ceased on 31/07/2013 and we were very pleased to receive a grant from the Fiji Community Development Program (FCDP), an AusAid funded program to continue this important community work.The research will evaluate the effectiveness of interventions.

  • Dr Isimeli Tukana, the National Advisor NCD Ministry of Health Fiji has said that VSHC is the “...first primary health centre setting to do a STEPs survey in Fiji. It's a Milestone breakthrough”.

  • Strategies are being developed to empower women to become more proactive in reducing dietary and other NCD risk factors for their families. This will include reducing excessive use of sugar and salt in the diet, using less saturated fats and encouraging more exercise in the family.

  • Community meetings have been held to explore innovative health promotion strategies for the community.

Committed Health Workers

  • Volunteers from the Community have been recruited and trained to work as community health workers. These community workers will support the zone nurse in health outreach activities. This initiative is endorsed by the Ministry of Health. The Community Health Workers are volunteers who care about VSHC and want to support the work being undertaken there by helping to reach out to patients in the area. They contribute their time and talents to help make the hospital experience as comfortable as possible for the patients and their families. 

2. Women’s reproductive health

Meeting the challenge

  • VSHC is served by two fully trained Obstetricians and Gynaecologists with extensive experience in major teaching hospitals in Sydney, New Zealand and Fiji.

  • VSHC has undertaken a comprehensive Reproductive Health (RH) Project that was conceived by the Medical Director of VSHC, Associate Professor Swaran Naidu.  At the launching of this project on March 8th, 2013 she said: "The wellness of many women is affected by their poor reproductive health. Fiji has one of the highest incidences of cervical cancer and it is the commonest 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 that need to be addressed." There is a strong belief that the empowered woman can contribute even more to society if she can achieve wellness by maintaining good physical, mental, spiritual and social health.


  • As an integral part of the RH Project there is a strong focus on research with the aim of understanding better how Women's Reproductive Health needs can be met.

3. Access to quality health care

Meeting the challenge

  • VSHC provides easy access to a population of about 15,000 people in the Vuda District. There were no health services available between Namaka Health Centre and Natabua Health Centre. The nearest hospitals are located at Nadi and Lautoka. Because the Ministry of Health personnel are supported by volunteer doctors, this health centre is able to provide a range of health services that are not routinely available at a health centre.


4. Complex medical problems

Meeting the challenge

  • VSHC uses an international network of medical specialists to provide advice about treatment options for complex health problems such as treatment of cancers, renal failure, infertility and other incapacitating medical conditions. Patients can then take this information and seek further advice to help establish a management plan.


5. Holistic Health Care for Wellness

Meeting the challenge

  • Wellness requires a holistic approach to health care. Its emphasis is on the ability to enjoy the full potential of life. We promote spiritual, mental, physical and social health.


6. Dental hygiene and health is very poor in the community especially amongst children.

Meeting the challenge

  • VSHC has a purpose built dental surgery which is in the process of being equipped by donors.


7. Gaps in Health Care

Meeting the challenge

  • VSHC identifies substantial gaps in health service:-

  1. Child health
  2. Mental health
  3. Ophthalmology and eye care
  4. ENT problems
  5. Specialised care for the elderly
  6. Palliative care for advanced cancer
  7. Ambulatory Surgical procedures
  • We invite advice and assistance in meeting these gaps in our services.


These challenges provide a unique opportunity for volunteers to get involved and help meet the significant health needs of the community. The community we serve does not have ready access to these services because their availability in Fiji is currently either limited or expensive.