The University of Fiji and the Sai Prema Foundation Fiji (SPF) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for provision of free medical services to staff and students of the University and their families. The medical services include doctors’ consultations and medications which will be offered free of charge from SPF’s Sai Sanjeevani Medical Centre, in Nasese, Suva. The staff of the University will also be able to receive full medical checkups annually at the Centre.
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Fiji, Professor Shaista Shameem expressed the University’s appreciation to the SPF for the collaborative opportunity. She said the relationship with the SPF, which included free medical services, as well as collaboration on a number of other initiatives such as medical research, was not only historic but timely as well. Professor Shameem said the University’s Umanand Prasad School of Medicine and Health Science (UPSM) was well-placed to jointly conduct medical research with SPF medical researchers on healthcare issues of concern to the nation such as NCDs, public health and Covid-19 as well as research for the advancement of modern medicine and medical practices internationally.
The University of Fiji’s School of Medicine and Health Science offers the MBBS degree as well as the new and innovative Bachelor of Medical Health Sciences (BMHS). It also offers nursing and public health qualifications.
“The SPF have provided us with opportunities we could only dream about previously, and we look forward to continuing partnership in our range of medical education in the future,” Professor Shameem said.
SPF Director Mr. Sumeet Tappoo said that the Foundation was excited about the prospects of what this collaborative partnership will mean for the nation.
“We are very excited about what the future entails from this collaborative partnership signing – the range, breadth and depth of what we can achieve together is limitless and this will result in positive outcomes for our nation,” said Mr. Sumeet Tappoo.
“Over and above the free healthcare for staff and students, the opportunities lie not only in leveraging off each other’s strengths to bring greater empowerment among our youth through workshops in healthcare and human values as well as through the opportunities for the students to serve the community through community service platforms offered by the Foundation; but also, with what we can achieve together in medical training and research in the times to come,” he added.
The MOU enables the University and SPF to discuss medical training, clinical placements and employment for the University of Fiji students and graduates in SPF Hospitals in future.
The MOU includes collaboration in other activities and services such as Blood Collection Drives on University premises to support the nation’s blood banks in the Central and Western Divisions, and advocacy through lectures and workshops for promoting good health and well-being among all staff and students.
A key part of the MOU is the joint promotion of Human Values ideals highly regarded by both the University and the SPF, namely, Truth, Love, Peace, Non-violence, Right Conduct, Compassion and Integrity. Professor Shameem said advocacy for these Human Values by the partners would fill a serious gap in the current geo-political climate everywhere. It would also help facilitate essential wellbeing targets in the University’s Strategic Plan 2022-2026. The MOU intends to foster the spirit of “Volunteerism” among students for service to the underprivileged in Fiji.