Sunday, June 8, 2008

Weekend in Nadi

My second week in Fiji has been great! On Wednesday night I attended an 'emergency' student representative council meeting (SRC) at Fiji School of Medicine (FSM). The SRC comprises of representatives from each health course as well as presidents from each of the different student clubs. There are so many clubs here! There is one club for every ethnic group present on campus as well as for each religous group, the students are very actively involved in campus life. They had lively debate on a lot of issues ranging from the appointment of a new dean, transparency issues in the selection of representatives for an overseas health conference as well as SRC constitution ammendments. It was so good to see so much passionate and animated discussion!

I went on a ward round with Dr Rao on Thursday morning. He is one of the most senior medical consultants in Fiji. I was definitely impressed with his knowledge as I and several medical students, interns, nurses and registrars followed him around the ward to visit his patients. With every patient he taught the whole entourage something new! Cardiovascular disease and diabetes are definitely huge problems here! It is the diet and lifestyle that is a huge contributor to this. We met one man who is only 50 but has end stage renal disease from uncontrolled diabetes, which is so sad because it could easily have been prevented.

For my diabetes project I visited the National Diabetes Health Centre. This centre was initially set up as an institution for education of health professionals about diabetes and to conduct workshops and run diabetes related research. However, today it is more of a referral centre where treatment resistant patients from other hospitals and health centres are referred for further management. Dieticians, nurses and doctors work at the centre, and there is also a diabetic foot clinic attached. The centre also conducts most diabetes screening in the community.

A medical student here at FSM was kind enough to invite me to her home in Nadi for the weekend! Nadi is on the West side of Fiji, where it's always sunny! The coastal drive on the bus was amazing, palm trees, rolling waves...Nadi was great, it's such a laid back town...I'm totally chilled out at the moment. I just got back today and will return to work tomorrow.

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