Letters | Opinion

Editorial: A Beacon Of Dedication And Passion For Healthcare

Yesterday’s Fiji Sun front-page headline, “For the Love of Work,” story and photo, serves as a timely and vivid reminder of the narrative of Florence Nightingale, ‘The Lady with the Lamp.’   In fact, the story encapsulates three important messages for the people of Fiji, especially our leaders.  
22 Aug 2023 09:44
Editorial: A Beacon Of Dedication And Passion For Healthcare
Dr Lemeki Ravena, during an emergency case, used a kerosene lamp and portable head torch to attend to the patient. Photo: Supplied

Yesterday’s Fiji Sun front-page headline, “For the Love of Work,” story and photo, serves as a timely and vivid reminder of the narrative of Florence Nightingale, ‘The Lady with the Lamp.’  

In fact, the story encapsulates three important messages for the people of Fiji, especially our leaders.  

Dr Lemeki Ravono’s unwavering dedication amidst challenging resources and conditions at Bukuya Health Centre resonates with many sewing in both rural and urban Fiji.  

The equation of poor service and inadequate facilities can result in disillusioned communities, inevitably targeting those in authority, the Government. Dr Ravono’s journey parallels that of Ms Nightingale, a nurse who revolutionised global healthcare in the 1800s during the Crimean War—a time when Britain clashed with Russia over the control of the Ottoman Empire.  

Dr Ravono’s humble beginnings reflect the tenacity of any Fijian family, striving to illuminate their path in life. Comparatively, Ms Nightingale was born into privilege in Italy in 1820, defying her affluent parents’ wishes for a wealthy and noble marriage to pursue her passion for nursing.  

Her legacy endures, established in an era devoid of our current technological luxuries. The dazzle of the ‘touch of the button’ is not experienced by all Fijians including Dr Ravono.  

He selflessly serves the sick and vulnerable in Bukuya—a remote region—using a kerosene lantern and a portable head torch. There may be others like him grappling with similar challenges across borders. 

Health is wealth and our wellbeing hinges on individuals like Dr Ravono. There have been reports of failing and aging medical facilities nationwide.  

Like Mr Rayalu, we question the hype at the August House—highlighting a supposed healthcare “boom” over the past decade— and the tangible outcomes of allocated funds to the Ministry of Health and Medical Services over the years. 

The exodus of medical personnel underscores their inadequate treatment. These caregivers stand between our pain and comfort, going the extra mile to alleviate suffering.  

With a hopeful gaze towards the next fiscal year, the designated $453.8 million allocation to the ministry should ideally mend the nation’s health concerns, ushering in improved healthcare.  

Minister for Finance, Biman Prasad, vowed that the health ministry would retain its high priority status within the Government’s agenda. Promises of enhanced salaries, health initiatives, facilities, maintenance, mediation, and equipment have been made.  

Let’s not forget the efforts of individuals like Dr Ravono who tirelessly served in remote and rural regions. They deserve better accommodation, transportation, resources, and equipment. These resilient individuals are motivated not solely by financial gains but by their passion and duty.  

They grapple with hardships, cop criticism, and traverse kilometers—through terrains, rough roads, rivers, mountains, and forests—carrying their burdens to heal the ailing and improve healthcare. Their dedication merits applause, improved welfare, better working conditions, cooperation from authorities, and the gratitude of the people they serve.  

Life is precious and the value of life often rests in the hands of healthcare professionals. Providing them with the right environment is paramount.  

Let’s stop the adage – ““We understand the concerns and will look into them” and genuinely delve into the worries of our medical personnel. Dr Ravono embodies the spirit of “For the Love of Work” instilled in him during his high school days, because to him health is wealth. 

Story By: Maikeli Seru 

Feedback: maikeli.vesikula@fijisun.com.fj 



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