COVID-19: Labasa nurses among 190 for Suva and Lautoka deployment

Close to 50 newly graduate Labasa nurses flew to Suva this week to join colleagues including some who have retired for postings in Suva and Lautoka, to alleviate some of the strain on Fiji’s health care workers in the wake of the rampant increase in coronavirus cases in Fiji.

The 48 nurses are among 190 nursing staff recruited to assist in Fiji’s public health response on a 3-month contract, made possible via a $900,000 funding support from the New Zealand Government in partnership with the TISI Sangam (Fiji).

This is not the first time the two parties have assisted in Fiji’s COVID-19 response – the former via the provision of vaccines, financial and medical experts’ support and the latter via its premises in Suva and Rakiraki to be used as isolation centres and a vehicle to deliver medicines to those serving home quarantine.

“We are living in very challenging times and the pandemic has strained medical and other resources needed to contain and suppress the spread of COVID-19. It is our duty to assist and provide as much support as possible to overcome and control the virus. This nursing deployment project is important as it provides additional staff and consolidates the already tremendous efforts of Dr Fong and his team at the Ministry of Health,” Secretary-General of TISI Sangam, Damend Gounder said.

New Zealand’s High Commissioner to Fiji Jonathan Curr welcomed the new partnership forged with TISI Sangam to recruit and second graduate nurses from the Sangam College of Nursing and the Fiji School of Nursing and retired nurses into the Ministry of Health and Medical Services.

“New Zealand is pleased to support the secondment of nurses into the Ministry of Health and Medical Services.  The graduate nurse interns will make a substantial contribution to Fiji’s healthcare efforts and boost public health operations in the COVID-19 response, lessening the strain on the health care workforce,” Curr said.

Photos: Newly graduate nurses departing Labasa Airport. Courtesy of: NZ High Commission in Suva

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