“The best health intervention is lifestyle,” said South Pacific Division (SPD) president Pastor Glenn Townend while opening the Hope Clinic in Suva (Fiji) on Friday, May 6—his first trip outside Australia in two years.
He said that lifestyle medicine reduces the risks of acute health diseases and is growing in demand across Australia and New Zealand.
Located in the centre of Suva’s CBD, the clinic has a dietician and a psychologist, with a GP and a nurse joining the team soon. Services include general and diet consultation, counselling, lifestyle medicine assessment, review, and medical report.
Alongside the clinic, there is a juice bar and a vegan café, which has been operating for two years, promoting lifestyle as a viable means of treating and preventing diseases, especially through a whole-foods plant-based diet.
Hope Clinic psychologist Dr Sofaia Vodosese said the cafe, which serves fresh vegan and vegetarian foods, has been influencing the community. “We have seen the change and how people are becoming more health-conscious. We praise God for the life of Mili Mataika and her husband for the great food they provide each day,” she said.
The idea of a clinic established in Suva was conceived between 2013 and 2014 while Pastor Townend was president of the Trans Pacific Union Mission (TPUM).
“The South Pacific Division is grateful for the resolve to see this through and we are hoping other clinics will be established in other missions within TPUM,” Pastor Townend said.
“Science and medicine, through research, have affirmed the God-given health message of Adventists and it has now become clear that lifestyle medicine and a plant-based diet is the best place to go,” he added.
Former Fiji Mission (FM) health director and Hope Clinic physician Dr Alipate Vakamocea acknowledged external partners who contributed towards the clinic’s establishment and operation, including Fiji’s Ministry of Health, World Health Organisation, Fiji National Provident Fund, Smiles Café and many others.
FM president Pastor Nasoni Lutunaliwa acknowledged the full support of the SPD to establish the clinic and is hoping that it will continue to render support towards its growth in the future.