Tuesday, February 07, 2012

A young doctor in Labasa

from w
The heroes in Fiji today are the medical staff and teachers and ordinary people doing extraordinary things in difficult times. Good on you, people like this young man who is an intern at the Labasa hospital.

from the Fiji Times:
Overcoming hurdles
Geraldine Panapasa
Tuesday, February 07, 2012
photo: School days ... Dr Tavo, right, with friends in 2009. Picture: SUPPLIED
WHEN life throws you a curved ball, you give it your best shot and never look back. That's exactly what Doctor Richard Tavo did when his mum was left to support the family after the untimely death of his father in 2001.

The 24-year-old is based at the Labasa Hospital for his internship year and hopes to pursue a career in obstetrics and gynaecology.It was no easy journey getting to where he is today with all the pressures and distractions of young adult life.But focus, commitment and perseverance pushed Richard towards a profession that values life.

"Ever since I was admitted at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva for burns in 1990, I knew I wanted to become a doctor," he said from Labasa. "Apart from that, my father's death in 2001 when I was in Form Three also made me even more determined to become a doctor and help the sick."

Second in a family of five siblings, Richard has set precedence for his younger sister, Talei, who is also in her final year for the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) program at the Fiji National University's medical school. Both siblings believe passion to help make a difference in the lives of the sick are what makes their work very rewarding.

"I attended St Marcellin Primary School then moved to Marist Brothers' High School from 2001-2004," said the 2010 FSMed Students Association president. After high school, I went to the University of the South Pacific to do foundation science in 2005 and entered FSM on a Public Service Commission scholarship a year later. The thought of failure and the shame I would endure if I failed medical school pushed me to go even further with my studies. I'm glad I did because now I get to do something I love and am passionate about."

The medical school campus was his home for six years and it was this experience that made him comfortable with life away from home.

"In my final year at FSM, I did my trainee internship at Savusavu Subdivisional Hospital and we had to bring cases to Labasa so being in the Friendly North isn't exactly a new experience," he said. "Labasa is actually a nice place to work. I think the only challenge I've faced so far is the language barrier ù it's something that I'm learning. I believe there is a time for everything. When it's time to study, I give it my all. God and my family has been the backbone encouraging me to do better. Growing up without a father also motivated me to achieve what I have today."

Behind every great man is an equally successful woman, and for Dr Tavo, his ladylove is none other than his Tongan partner Kaloafu Nofoakifolau, who also graduated from the same medical college.

"She was always there for me, helping and encouraging me to succeed. She is also the backbone of it all," he said. "I think if you have the passion to help the sick and serve your country and its people then you should go for it ù take up medicine for the right reasons. The sky's the limit."

Today, Dr Tavo is one of many lifesavers committed to improving health in our country.

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