Bula and welcome to the beautiful month of March dear reader. Charitable and service organisations are gearing up now for the full spate of events, both fundraising and social that will be held from May through to August – the coolest, weather wise, time of the year to get dressed up and have fun for a good cause. The International Women’s Association is no exception and letters of invitation have gone out and tickets being sold for The IWA May Ball that will be held on 5 May at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva. For the benefit of those who may not know about the work of the IWA – yes we are a group of women who get together once a month and have beautiful cups of coffee and delightful morning teas from February through to November – but that’s not all. Our vision of our Association to “promote and assist the physical, educational and social welfare of needy women and children in Fiji” overrides all else. Being a nonprofit, non-political charitable association we raise funds each year specifically to meet the objective of our Association. This year the CWM Maternity Hospital will benefit once again from our fundraising efforts. Our hardworking President Ms Judy Compain reports of ‘the deplorable condition of the bathrooms and toilets. The showers do not have showerheads, there are pipes sticking out of the wall and most of the bathrooms and toilets are out of order or broken. One of the bathrooms (that has 3 toilets and 5 showers) has been shut down for a while now due to leaks that have not been identified nor repaired for many years. The women have no choice but to use these facilities that have little to no privacy.’ ‘Expectant women (mothers, wives, daughters, sisters, nieces, granddaughters, friends and colleagues) have a right to decent, hygienic, usable bathrooms before and after having their baby so we have resolved to make this change and we believe women in your organization and their families will benefit from this initiative’, reported President Compain. Last year, the IWA constructed and outfitted the two-room IWA High-Risk Clinic that now provides women consultation and counseling in a private and well-equipped environment. Later in October, the IWA-Cancer Care Packs were launched, an initiative to support and provide useful, comforting items for women undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. There have been many other benefits for not only the women and children of Fiji but our communities as a whole and you can find out more by visiting our Facebook page, International Women’s Association (IWA) Fiji and booking your tickets and finding out about our next meeting. As mentioned earlier the IWA May Ball is planned for Saturday 5 May 2018 at the Grand Pacific Hotel Ballroom, and tickets are $300 each or $3,000 for a table. Included in the ticket price are a pre-dinner cocktail, 3-course dinner, entertainment and dancing and in keeping with tradition, this is a formal floor length gown and black tie event. Admit it, you love dressing up! We thank His Excellency John Feakes of the Australian High Commission for graciously hosting us for our first meeting last month, which saw a wonderful turnout. We also welcome His Excellency and his family to our shores for their new posting. Another amazing charitable organisation that is gearing up to start screening and scheduling patients for their 2018 surgical outreach is the Loloma Foundation. They have just finished their first mission at Navutu Stars in the Yasawas – a journey which began 14 years ago with the owners of this beautiful resort closing their doors for 9 days and handing over their villas to volunteer teams who run medical and dental clinics for the people of the northern Yasawa chain of Islands. Granted, it’s only 9 days a year. But in the bigger picture, it allows an annual dental visit, an annual PAP smear, medical visit and possible referral to our surgical teams in Taveuni in the middle of the year from May to June. This year, over $200k of consumable medical and dental supplies were disbursed. Loloma Foundation and its volunteers are so grateful for the continuing partnership forged by the generosity of Navutu Stars. Here’s what was accomplished in January, 2018: Dental: There were 143 restorations, 291 extractions and hundreds of polishing and varnishing of teeth. There were 19 full dentures (built and delivered in the field) as well as 21 partials. Medical: There were a total 1066 patients seen in 8 clinics with 87 women’s exams and 70 PAP smears with 236 x menstruation kits distributed on the Day For Girls and 30 surgical referrals to Taveuni. What an absolute achievement and vinaka vakalevu sara to the Loloma Foundation. Now if you (or anyone you know) needs help with any of the following conditions the Loloma Foundation may be able to help. • Cysts/lumps on most areas of the body • Growths on or in face, nose, lip, mouth or tongue • Thyroid/goiters (these MUST be scanned by a local doctor and report given) • Joined fingers/toes (Syndactyly) • Extra fingers/toes (Polydactyly) • Burns and scars causing bent fingers, hands, arms, legs, feet and toes • Cleft Palate and cleft lips • Painful lump in groin or stomach that pops out (Hernia) • Painful leg veins (Varicose veins) • Water on testicle (Hydrocele) • Family planning for men and women (Vasectomy and tubal ligation) • Heavy female bleeding treatment (Menorrhagia) • Baby bag removal (Hysterectomy) Please note that surgery is performed on Taveuni Island at the refurbished Waiyevo Hospital and it is essential that patients be screened before going to Taveuni! Please contact Terri Shafer at 8068423 to schedule a date and time for screening. Patients may need to see a local doctor for complete screening before they can be selected. Further information will be given after a patient is selected for treatment. Please be prepared to pay for your transport to Suva and return to your village/home. Ferry costs to Taveuni and return will be discussed with each person. Please remember though that this is a great opportunity to see medical specialists free of charge. That’s it for another month – have a great one and big lolomas to you all. Pax Vitia.
Mrs BERNADETTE ROUNDS GANILAU is a former radio personality and Member of Parliament. Now retired, she continues with her NGO work and runs her own business.