Degree: Master of Science in Climate Change
Graduated: September 2013
Current Position: Senior Health Inspector, Ministry of Health, Fiji
What is your Job Position and Organisation that you are employed under?
Senior Health Inspector – Vector Control, Quarantine with the Environmental Health Unit of the Ministry of Health (MOH), Fiji
What was your reason for enrolling on a Climate Change Program in PaCE-SD?
It is a means of supporting the need to provide and enhance evidence based health impacts of Climate Change in Fiji so as to assist with policies directed towards protection of human health against Climate Change and variability impacts. PaCE-SD also expressed an interest in assisting MOH with research (towards a MSc) that would be beneficial to both parties.
What does your current career involve? (i.e your main responsibilities)
It is involved with communicable disease vector control and surveillance within Fiji including the surveillance at the Ports of Entry in terms of foreign vectors and infectious diseases. The position that I hold handles preparation of plans, formulation and review of policies and oversees the effective implementation of the plans and policies (processes, protocols) for protection of public health from vector borne diseases both local and international.
How has your knowledge and skills gained from your studies assisted you and the organisation that you are working in with their duties related to climate change?
We have a list of infectious diseases and vector borne diseases that fall under the seasonal pattern and there are mitigating strategies that we implement so as to respond to the expected influx of the vectors and the vector borne diseases (e.g. mosquitoes and dengue before the wet and hot season or leptospirosis during and after heavy rain with flooding). I have gained the skills and knowledge in validating these assumptions as a researcher, community development worker and in policy and plan preparation.
Can you tell us about any success stories in your career after you have graduated that you believe was made possible with your study experience at PaCE-SD?
The current dengue outbreak being faced in Fiji was delayed from end of 2012 to end of 2013 keeping in mind that Fiji is the centre of trade and travel in the Pacific with dengue, chikungunya and zika virus already in neighbouring Pacific islands. Our vector control officers responded to the alert from the National office with the great reduction of mosquito breeding grounds in the rural areas. However, the urban centres which do not fall directly in our Ministry were not as active with their monitoring and surveillance, thus the probable gap in this outbreak. MOH is now working in integration and collaboration with other Government Organisations and NGOs to ensure coverage of both rural and urban communities.
After my study, I managed to facilitate the process of reviewing old plans to produce Fiji’s Dengue booklet: Planning and Procedures for dengue vector surveillance and control in Fiji.
What have you done differently/better now in your job after graduation?
I am able to make informed decisions particularly with weather and climate controls involved. In addition I am involved in climate and health discussions within and outside the Ministry (MOH).
What ambitions do you have for the future in your career?
To facilitate the set up of a Climate Change Unit within the Ministry. The current unit is a WHO and MOH position that is undertaking a project which may roll out mid 2015.
What are you most proud of in your life? (Can be a personal achievement or work related)
- Personal – My parents
- My Masters degree – 1st in my family
What inspires you to pursue the type of work that you are in?
It is different and not everybody in the Ministry or even Environmental Health has privilege to the knowledge and information a few of us have.
Who is your role model and why?
Apart from my own parents and my Dad in particular, for my personal direction I am inspired as well by great career women in Fiji and stories from the Bible.