In early April 2020, the all too familiar destruction of a Tropical Cyclone (TC) – Harold – hit the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji and Tonga. One of the worst affected areas was the Eastern part of Fiji. Through support by Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), our Member Association, Reproductive and Family Health Association of Fiji (RFHAF), was quick to respond ensuring access to essential sexual and reproductive healthcare for Kadavu’s women, girls, and vulnerable groups.
Fiji's vulnerable coastline
Fiji’s worst affected area was the Eastern part, with TC Harold bringing destructive storm force winds and storm surge.
RFHAF focused its humanitarian response on the local Kadavu population. This remote area proves a challenge to reach for the team with supplies.
RFHAF's humanitarian response team tackle rough terrain
National travel restrictions - due to the current COVID-19 pandemic - on all inter island transfers has slowed the response in some areas, including Kadavu.
The island of Kadavu is one of the least developed areas of Fiji, the main source of income is substance living (Yaqona). Transport around the island is difficult, with very few roads, no public water system or electricity. The humanitarian team from RFHAF travels by boat and then on foot.
Kadavu, the biggest island in the Eastern division has the greatest population (10,897). 197 evacuation centres were activated in total, initially hosting over 6,240 people.
Many are women of reproductive age, with an estimated 150 currently pregnant. Asenaca learns about breast cancer self-checks from RFHAF’s healthcare provider, Karo.
Nasi, RFHAF healthcare provider
The medical mobile team deliver a broad range of healthcare including contraception, information and counselling on sexual health, pregnancy, HIV and STI care and testing.
RFHAF Team in Kadavu performing general health checks after TC Harold. Nasi administers a HPV shot to a client.
Young women and girls are at the heart of RFHAF’s healthcare provision.
Kate walks home with her dignity kit after a health check at the mobile clinic.
Karo, RFHAF healthcare worker
RFHAF offers sexual and reproductive healthcare as well as counselling, and referrals for follow up care.
Alidi, RFHAF healthcare worker
The team ensures young people in the community are not forgotten and provide information and education on relationships and sexual health and rights.
Alidi conducting a session with a local group of young people at Gasele, Kadavu.
Photos ©IPPF/Rob Rickman/Fiji