LABASA, 08 OCTOBER 2020 (TAIPEI TRADE OFFICE) — Annie Ratuvuku, a young woman from Vanua Levu and an intern nurse at Labasa Hospital, is passionate about making a meaningful contribution to Fiji’s health sector.
However, for the last ten years, she has had difficulty breathing and wakes up at odd hours of the night because of the complications.
The 25-year-old couldn’t even enjoy her favorite chicken with tomato sauce anymore after losing her sense of smell and taste. She dreamed of breathing freely again like her colleagues and friends. In the spring of 2019, her dream came true. Ratuvuku bravely agreed to undergo surgery for severe nasal polyps by Dr Chen Yung-yuan.
“This surgery changed my life. I could breathe like a normal person and I could taste food now.” She said jubilantly. “I can’t thank Dr. Chen and his team enough. This surgery was life-changing and made me realize the importance of good medical care. I made a promise to become a better nurse to care for my patients.”
Taiwan has been sending medical missions to Fiji since 2006, as part of its global medical diplomacy initiative. Seven teams of 47 medical staff from the Mackay Hospital Medical Corps have completed more than 3000 outpatient services from 2006 to 2014 in Fiji. Twelve teams of 80 medical staff from the Cathay Medical Corps have completed more than 5600 outpatient services and 127 surgeries from 2014-2019 in gastroenterology, ear, nose and throat – free of charge. This included medical procedures in urban and rural centres, such as Rakiraki, Ba, Tavua, Lautoka, Sigatoka, Korolevu, Lomawai, Cuvu, Labasa, Nabouwalu, Savusavu and Seaqaqa.
Medical services and good health care is vital for Fijians and Taiwan is pleased to share its experiences. Taiwan’s healthcare system is highly-ranked in the world. Its successful containment of COVID-19 and contribution to global efforts to combat the deadly pandemic was seen as a model for the world. This April, when most world leaders were deeply troubled by COVID-19, a detailed article in the Forbes magazine titled ‘What Do Countries with the Best Coronavirus Responses Have in Common? Women Leaders’ attracted global attention. Taiwan President, Tsai Ing-wen, was praised in the article, alongside other female leaders including Germany’s Chancellor Angela Markel, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Prime Minister of Iceland Katrín Jakobsdóttir, for their stellar coronavirus responses.
Besides medical assistance, Fijian citizens have also benefitted from numerous higher education scholarships at Taiwan’s various internationally-recognized universities. An alumnus, Dr. Kaliova Ravuiwasa, the Acting Dean at the Fiji National University’s College of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, believes Taiwan’s scholarship support has been vital for building capacity in Fiji. Dr. Ravuiwasa studied in Taiwan from 2003 to 2011, and described the experience as “life-changing.” He is one of the only entomologists, or the study of insects, in Fiji. Initially going there to learn Mandarin at the National Taiwan Normal University, he returned with a Masters and Ph.D. in Entomology from the prestigious National Chung Hsing University. “I’ve had a lot of life-learning experiences in Taiwan and I will forever hold my time there close to my heart,” he said.
The scholarships are dispensed through the Taiwan’s Ministry of Education (Taiwan Scholarship) and the Taiwan International Co-operation and Development Fund (Taiwan ICDF Scholarship), for under-graduate, graduate and Ph.D. programmes. Taiwan is pleased that it is able to provide countries like Fiji opportunities for higher education, seen as crucial for sustainable development. The three latest scholarship recipients are Saravina Tikoduadua, pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in International Business Management; Pritika Chand, pursuing a Masters in Agriculture; and Regina Singh, pursuing a masters in Aquaculture.
They are grateful to Taiwan’s continuous support to Fijian students and hope to contribute to Fiji’s development when they return. “We are very excited about this opportunity and are keen to get started and learn in Taiwan,” Tikoduadua said. Taiwan’s support in the crucial areas of education and medicine has cemented its position as a genuine friend and partner to Fiji…..PACNEWS

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