Ex-Fijian Doctor, Dr Reeta Has Nation At Heart

A product of Natabua High School in Lautoka, Dr Reeta Lochan Reddy studied in In­dia and the Fiji School of Medicine, from where she graduated in 1980 with a gold medal.
10 Mar 2019 17:28
Ex-Fijian Doctor, Dr Reeta Has Nation At Heart
Left Dr Reeta ‘s late mother and father and right a recent photo of Dr Chandra Kumar Reddy with Dr Reeta Lochan Reddy.

Despite migrating to New Zea­land more than 30 years ago, she still has Fiji at heart.

Even though she is committed to her family and works as a general practitioner in New Zealand, Dr Reeta Lochan Reddy says she loves coming to Fiji, now and then.

She is following her late mother, Padma Lochan’s, footsteps in do­ing something for women in Fiji and she hopes to continue with the legacy left behind by her mum.

Dr Reddy’s father Ram Lochan and mother were head teachers in Lautoka as she grew up and pur­sued her studies to become a doctor.

A product of Natabua High School in Lautoka, she also studied in In­dia and the Fiji School of Medicine, from where she graduated in 1980 with a gold medal.

In 1981, she married Dr Chandra Kumar Reddy who hails from Ba and was posted at the Sigatoka Hos­pital as a doctor.

She was transferred to the Coloni­al War Memorial Hospital in Suva where she worked as the medical registrar from 1982 to 1987 before migrating to New Zealand a year later.

In New Zealand, she worked at the Dunedin Hospital for about three years before going into private practice.

“I had three small children then so I had more time to spend with them working as a general practitioner,” she said.

Her husband is a general surgeon who used to work at the Waikato Hospital but is also in private prac­tice, now.

The couple’s eldest son is a gener­al surgeon also and is married to a doctor while the second eldest son, whose wife is also a doctor, has a PhD and is training to be a surgeon.

Her daughter, who is the youngest in the family, is a lawyer by profes­sion in Hamilton, New Zealand as she chose to become that instead of becoming a doctor.

Speaking on the role of women in the society, Dr Reddy said her late mother formed women’s clubs in Lautoka to empower women. She also formed the Lautoka Sammlit Association 40 years ago.

“My late mum, who was my role model, played a great role in edu­cating women on social issues and other things that affected them,” she said.

“We have renovated the building and have now started supporting women with child care. Women are educated too but they need some form of support.

“I think we women are an impor­tant and relevant part of the com­munity and we have to work hand in hand with men.

“The progress that we make is with the support of men in our family. The balance for better can happen with support.”

Dr Reddy said while women were moving ahead and things were im­proving, there was still room for more improvement.

On the issue of domestic violence, she said sadly, it was everywhere.

“I see it in New Zealand in my pro­fession as a doctor. Sadly we still lose women. We still lose children,” she said.

“I think internationally, women get paid less than men and i think that they are still living in poverty.

“To deal with domestic violence, I think it starts with our children. We have to teach them to respect women and how to treat women.

“There are also some vulnerable men who are victims of domestic violence but they hide it by keeping quiet like some women do.”

She said while her visit to Fiji now was to deal with some other issues, she also timed it for the Interna­tional Women’s Day celebration yesterday at the organisation her late mother formed in Lautoka.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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