Where we work

Fiji

Fiji is a popular holiday destination, yet many Fijians don’t have access to the same healthcare level as we do.

What are the eye health problems?

The main cause of blindness is cataracts, with only 47.5 per cent of Fijians accessing the sight-restoring surgery they need. The leading cause for low-vision is uncorrected refractive errors, which in most cases can be easily fixed with a pair of glasses. Pacific Island nations make up seven of the top ten countries globally with the highest rate of diabetes, and diabetes eye disease is quickly becoming the third most common cause of low vision in Fiji.

Almost half of the country’s eye care workers are based in Suva, and outreach teams regularly travel to rural areas to reach people in need. Smaller eye clinics throughout Fiji are under-resourced, and travel costs, plus the physical difficulty of getting around, are barriers for many people.

Our work in Fiji

In 2002, there was no eye care training available for nurses in the Pacific Islands, and the only eye care training for doctors was in Papua New Guinea. In 2006 we built the Pacific Eye Institute in Suva. It provides eye care training for doctors and nurses from across the Pacific region. It also offers a full range of eye care services at Suva’s public hospital and is the base for our outreach team. Made up of trained Pacific Island doctors and nurses, the team travels around the region providing eye care services to people in need.

In 2015 we launched a full-service Mobile Eye Clinic that travels around Fiji’s two main islands. The service has improved access to eye care in remote areas, with screening teams travelling ahead to small villages and referring patients to the nearby Mobile Eye Clinic for treatment.

The team get together to discuss the programme for the day, which will involve consultations, surgeries and follow-ups.
Mere's sight was restored after a cataract operation

Progress in sight

  • Foundation-trained eye doctors are now based in Lautoka in the Western Division and Labasa in the Northern Division of Fiji. With the support of trained eye nurses, they screen and treat patients.
  • The Mobile Eye Clinic team carried out 925 surgeries in 2020, an annual record. This was an increase from 2019, when they performed 614 sight-saving surgeries and dispensed 6,079 spectacles.

Where we work

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