Yesterday was Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna Day, a national public holiday in Fiji. It is celebrated annually in honour of Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna Day (1888-1958), the national father of modern Fiji (his death anniversary falls on the 30th May). The 3rd year medical students held a picnic to celebrate and invited me to go along. It was held at Pacific Harbour which is along the coast about 45 minutes drive from Suva. I experienced my first Fijian Barbecue and the students played beach volleyball and soccer! It was a very well organized event and the students did all the cooking for about 40 people! They have great teamwork skills here.
On Thursday I had a brief visit to CWM hospital, the main hospital in Suva to visit the pharmacy. The new wing of the hospital was built by the Japanese. There are three different dispensaries, one for paediatrics, one for inpatients and one for outpatients. Outpatients dispensary is the busiest! The pharmacy is meant to close at 4:30 but because of the long queues, the staff sometimes stay back to 6:30 pm. They are short staffed at the moment. The chief pharmacist, Vinita, was telling me that by the time patients get their prescriptions filled, most have spent the whole day in the hospital. A common occurrence is a patient presenting to outpatients at 7am, being seen by the doctor at 2pm, and then leaving the pharmacy with their prescription at 6pm! Hence there is little hope for counselling patients here as by the time they get their medication their only thought is of hopping on the bus home as soon as possible!
Stockouts are a problem here. I will be spending the majority of next week at CWM hospital collecting data and interviewing patients for my diabetes DUE project.