120 volunteers recognised for selfless service

Recipients of the COVID-19 vaccination rollout project awards at the Holiday Inn in Suva. Picture: MEDICAL SERVICES PACIFIC

More than 120 volunteers from Medical Services Pacific (MSP) and the Reproductive and Family Health Association of Fiji (RFHAF) were recognised for their selfless hard work during the COVID-19 vaccination rollout project awards ceremony in Suva on Wednesday.

The appreciation awards were given to the unrecognised individuals who were instrumental during the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out from 2020 to 2021.

In response to COVID-19 in Fiji, Australia assisted by giving vaccines and also funded the implementation of volunteers throughout the vaccination sites in Fiji.

Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) acting counsellor of human development Frank Thompson extended his gratitude for the immense effort and generosity of the volunteers, many of whom were retired health workers.

He said through funding from the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the volunteers assisted the Ministry of Health and Medical Service’s frontline health team to register and vaccinate eligible community members in Fiji.

Mr Thomson added in 2021, COVID-19 spread rapidly across the country and Fiji had very low vaccination rates and its health system was overwhelmed. But with support from DFAT, Fiji surpassed its ambitious target of registering and vaccinating 90 per cent of the eligible adult population.

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services representative Dr Anaseini Maisema said the level of volunteerism from the community contributed to the stable health condition of Fiji today.

“I know during COVID-19 a lot of talks about medical frontlines, but behind them were the unsung heroes who made the vaccination possible,” Dr Maisema said.

“The whole world talks about the vaccination campaign in Fiji and behind those numbers, are you.

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