Here's an unusual story from Labasa about a 'volunteer nurse' at Wasavula, the place where the ancient stones stand or fall, a reminder of Fijian history. Though he has not done the formal training of a nurse, this man helps people who live nearby with their ailments. I do hope that the medical people in Labasa give him some fine first aid books and equipment and that he knows to send on serious cases to the hospital which is actually not far away! St Johns Ambulance, Red Cross and others can train interested people to do first aid, but still need to recognize which sicknesses they cannot treat. Every village needs to have at least one first-aider on hand. However, Laisiasa should not be called a nurse but a first-aider.
from Fiji Times today:
Laisiasa follows his dreams
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
The photo is labelled - Village nurse at work. Laisiasa Maduanavanua, offers medical treatment to a child in Wasavulu Village. Picture: SALASEINI VOSAMANA
BEING a volunteer health worker for more than five years in a village is not an easy task, considering the amount of extra effort and time spent without receiving proper wages.
For Laisiasa Maduanavanua, 47, of Naduri Village in Macuata, working as a village nurse without good earnings is a profession he dreamt of when he was young.
The second youngest of seven siblings, Laisiasa grew up in the village with a lot of financial constraints.
At that time, having $2 in his pocket meant everything to him.
In an interview with The Fiji Times last week, Mr Maduanavanua said he did not complete his education because his parents could not afford to pay his school fees. He was one of the brightest students in class but unfortunately, he only reached Form Four level.
"After completing Form Four, I joined Nasoso Lay Training Centre ù a Methodist mission school near my village where I learnt about God and His kingdom," Laisiasa said. "Life was hard during my school days because there were seven of us in the family and my parents found it hard to cater for our education. Enduring the hardships and the pain my parents went through, I decided to leave my family for Vatukoula to work at the Emperor Gold Mine," he said.
While it was difficult for him to leave his family behind, Laisiasa said he had no other option but to look for other means of survival to financially support his family.
"After working in Vatukoula for more than three years, I decided to join the Denarau Resort as a bartender.
"My family's livelihood was at a stable point because I was able to support them financially. All those years, something always triggered my mind telling me that my line of work did not lie in the tourism industry or the goldmine. The idea came about when I remembered that I had always wanted to become a village nurse ù to save rural dwellers especially the children in villages."
In 2005, Laisiasa started his volunteer work in his village. He said a lot of the villagers criticised his work when he first started because they did not have faith in him. He said most injured villagers did not trust him to treat their wounds because they knew he did not have any understanding of being a health worker.
"At times I felt like running away from the village because of the pressure from the villagers but my dreams of becoming a village nurse assured me on the job," he said. "I attended a health workshop in 2006 where I was taught all the necessary steps of becoming a village nurse. I was grateful because I knew the villagers would stop their criticisms of me. It did stop but there was a big problem I continuously encountered when I was empowered as a volunteer village nurse. My first aid kit supply was always short because the villagers kept coming for treatment. I thought that was a very good sign because it meant they recognised my work. I had liaised with health officials and they were able to assist me with my supply. Even though I was not paid for my service, I enjoyed my work because I was able to help the villagers. The hospitals are far from the village and some villagers find it easier to visit me for treatment because I'm always there to help them out. Earlier this year, I moved to Wasavulu Village in Labasa where I was appointed to be the village nurse. The geographical condition has changed a lot but it does not really affect my service. I am enjoying my work every day."