Fiji’s Ministry of Health is working with the Seventh-day Adventist Church to improve the health of Fijians. The agreement will see Adventist health books placed in every government hospital and clinic around the country.
So far 36 sets of books have been delivered, with more books ordered every quarter. The titles are standard items in the literature evangelist’s repertoire: The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants and TheEncyclopedia of Food and its Healing Power. Fiji’s area manager for Adventist Publishing, Mr Peni Vula, estimated the total value of the consignment at more than FJ$85,000 and said the government is considering ordering other Adventist health titles as well.
Over recent decades the disease burden in Fiji has shifted from infectious diseases to lifestyle illnesses as hygiene and healthcare improves and Fijians adopt Western dietary and exercise habits.
Mr Vula said health authorities are also concerned for those rural villages where there is no clinic. Negotiations are currently underway for government health workers who visit these villages to use the same Adventist health books as resources. Literature evangelists and church members with health expertise will be involved in training the government health workers in using the books and in general health principles.
Over recent decades the disease burden in Fiji has shifted from infectious diseases to lifestyle illnesses as hygiene and healthcare improves and Fijians adopt Western dietary and exercise habits. The impact is most clearly seen in the 45-49 age-group—often parents with dependent children. “I always say it’s equivalent to a Boeing 747, carrying its full capacity of 400 people, crashing each year and killing everyone onboard,” said Dr Isimeli Tukana, a government health advisor in an interview with IslandsBusiness. “Because that’s what it is—it’s like, every year, since 1996, one of these Boeing 747s takes off with 400 45-49-year olds, crashes and kills them all.”