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Taking my baby to Fiji- what are the hospitals like?

Adelaide, Australia
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Taking my baby to Fiji- what are the hospitals like?

My partner and I are planning on a holiday to Fiji in December. By then our little girl will be 13 months old. We would love some information on the health system over there incase she became sick or needed medical attention. Has anyone needed to see a Dr or go to hospital over there? I would love to know your experiences!

New South Wales...
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for Fiji, New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory
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1. Re: Taking my baby to Fiji- what are the hospitals like?

If you have a child that is likely to get ill, perhaps you shouldn't travel. For emergencies, doesn't matter where you go, you just have to rely on what's there. We have found the health services in Fiji to be perfectly adequate. Ensure you have travel insurance that includes medical expenses when you travel but be aware that they will not cover pre-existing medical conditions.

Reno, Nv
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for Matangi Island, Fiji
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2. Re: Taking my baby to Fiji- what are the hospitals like?

Suggest you contact any resorts you are interested in regarding their medical facilities. As tez has said travel insurance is a must.

Recommend taking a first aid kit with bandaids, anti-itch spray for bites, antibiotic cream for cuts, and any medicines think you or your daughter might need. The following link has additional information on what to take with you.

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g294331-c134773/Fiji:…

Hope this helps.

Auckland Region...
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3. Re: Taking my baby to Fiji- what are the hospitals like?

Arrived home yesterday from a week in Fiji having taken our sons, their wives and five grandchildren aged 6,5,4,2 and 13 months. The 4yr old became ill with respiratory problems and elevated temperature. The hotel ( The Radisson) was quick to phone a doctor and put him on the line. The doctor called at the child's room 30 minutes later, examined him, prescribed antibiotics and an inhaler with spacer. A quick trip into Denerau chemist and then a wait of about an hour while the prescribed medication came from Nadi. I was happy with the prompt, professional and caring service. However later that night the child became quite ill with rapid breathing and a cough, an elevated temp, doctor called again, it took over an hour and a half this time and we were referred to Nadi hospital and went by taxi. This was total culture shock ( I am a registered nurse). You would have to see the conditions to believe them, they were so rundown, then you still think it can't be that bad. IT IS.

The nurse and doctor who examined my grandchild were efficient and caring and they did have a working nebuliser (not sure about the mask they used as I didn't see it go on as my son was with him at that stage,however I think the patient after used the same mask, although I could be wrong about that). There was no working xray machine at the hospital. The doctor wanted to start IV antibiotics. We asked to go to Lautoka hospital as it is larger and better equipped with a working xray and were told it was full. We tried to go to Lautoka instead of Nadi to start with however we were told we could not do this or the doctor could be in trouble for sending us there and we needed to be referred at Nadi first. When in a foreign country you need to go by their system. I asked if the child could go on a trolley bed and after phonecalls they arranged an ambulance to transfer the child to Lautoka. I was not well myself at that stage so reluctantly went back to the hotel and my son stayed with his son overnight at Lautoka hospital. The child was given IV antibiotics and was improving by the next morning. My son slept on the bed with his child. I believe the doctors and nurses we encountered did the best they could with what they had. There was no toilet paper or soap in tolilets/bathrooms in Nadi or Lautoka hospitals that we found. I did not see Lautoka myself, my son said it was worse than Nadi which is hard to believe. The smell was awful, it was not up to NZ standards as far as cleanliness. I have spent some of today researching about health care in Fiji, it is hard to find information however there is a private clinic in Lautoka which is attached to a private hospital in Suva. It is called ther Mayne Nickless at 40 Namoli Ave (this information is from the interent so I cannot be too sure about this, you need to check yourself).

I would not go back to Fiji unless I can find that there is another medical facility of a better standard in case it is needed.

Of course now that I have seen these conditions myself I cannot forget it or the experience so shall see how I can be of assistance in some way, perhaps I'll start with Red Cross.

By the way The Radisson was a fabulous hotel for families, the figian people just wonderful.

New South Wales...
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for Fiji, New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory
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4. Re: Taking my baby to Fiji- what are the hospitals like?

THanks for the real life update Nan. Unfortunate for you to have to go through this but more unfortunate for the Fijian people that this is all they have........

I've seen the special that the vet Dr Chris Brown did on Fiji after the cyclone last year and it seems that the human health care is about on a par with the animal healthcare - non-existant!

Let us know if you find out anything that we can do to help with improving the standards in Fiji but I suspect that with the current government, it will only be foreign aide that will provide any solutions.

nz
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for Norfolk Island, Noosaville, Rarotonga
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5. Re: Taking my baby to Fiji- what are the hospitals like?

What a terrible experience for you, Nan. I would think that this homecoming had you more pleased to be back than ever before.

I must say I've always said that if I got sick in Fiji I'd want to be on the first plane out. But obviously in this case it wasn't possible.

Yes, you have to feel for the Fijians. By comparison, the Cook Islands are lucky because they have NZ citizenship and therefore have access to our medical facilities here. But, although their hospital in Raro is much better than you've just experienced, I'd still want to be on the first plane home if there was a problem.

It makes you realise how lucky we are in Australian and NZ.

Australia
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6. Re: Taking my baby to Fiji- what are the hospitals like?

My 5 yr old son got I'll earlier this yr while on Malolo Island. The staff were fantastic! They arranged the water taxi too pick up up ASAP, and booked us in for a urgent appt with a pedeatrician in Nadi. We were there within the hour. I called my travel insurer (Omega booked thru Qantas) and they took notes, and gave permission to seek urgent treatment. The doctor put all her appts on hold and saw us straight away. She organized blood and urine tests, hooked him up to an IV. She was an Asian woman in her 50's. The care we received was far better than my local GP!

We spent the day at the clinic until around 4pm when the IV had finished and test results came back. My travel insurer were fantastic. Their doctors rang constantly throughout the day seeking updates, and kept offering to arrange a flight home ASAP if we didn't feel happy with the care received. The end result was dehydration and tonsillitis. ( he had played nonstop on the island for a week obviously not drinking enough). As his prone to asthma this was why I became concerned initially.

On return to the resort, the manager met us on the wharf at the water taxi. They provided a huge fruit platter and big bottle of Fiji Water with a card wishing a speedy recovery. He was up and out playing again the following day but with our babysitter following him carrying bottle of Poweraid!

Omega staff rang the following three days checking his progress and making sure we were all happy. I never felt unsafe, and received fantastic service.

I must note that the Fijians are incredible too. One of the water taxi staff guys, on arrival at Denarau, accompanied my son and I in a taxi into the health clinic. He sat in the waiting room the ENTIRE day, and took us back in a taxi to the SeaFiji office at Denarau and put us back in a water taxi to go back to the resort.......he just wanted to see us safe. Incredible.

Never once did we feel unsafe. I was so suprised that Omega doctors follow individual cases so closley. As it was nearing Easter they reassured us that they would get us seats on a plane if we wanted to cut the trip short and come home.

PM me if anyone wants the name and address for the pediatrician as she was wonderful. Also make sure you pay the money for a top travel insurer. Once home, Omega reimbursed all our travel costs in minimal time.

Happy holidaying.

New South Wales...
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for Fiji, New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory
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7. Re: Taking my baby to Fiji- what are the hospitals like?

Good to know Luclen. I've never heard of Omega though. I thought Qantas used QBE or is it the same company? We have QBE travel insurance whenever we go anywhere although "touch wood" haven't so far had the misfortune to have to use it.

Edited: 09 September 2011, 12:47
Australia
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8. Re: Taking my baby to Fiji- what are the hospitals like?

Yes, same thing! QBE use OMEGA for their travel assitance. Good choice!!!!

Sydney, Australia
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9. Re: Taking my baby to Fiji- what are the hospitals like?

Hi,

My family is travelling to Fiji soon and my daughter just turned 1. She is very allergic to things and if you can give the details of the paediatrician would be very appreciative. This is for my precaution.

Thank you very much.

AL.

Newcastle, Australia
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10. Re: Taking my baby to Fiji- what are the hospitals like?

I second Luclen.

The service we received on a couple of occasions was fantastic. I will stress that neither were at the Hospital, which we have driven past in Nadi on many occasions and it doesn't even look like a hospital. My wife got a throat infection on one occasion and I had a dental emergency on another.

We were advised not to go to Hospital, by the locals.

On both occasions, we asked the locals at the resorts where to go. There are several doctors around Denaurau Isl, most of which have houses bigger than the resorts just about. They pretty much only treat "Insurance Clad" tourists and charge exorbitant prices. On my wife's occasion, she was required to be on IV as her throat had almost closed. Our taxi driver returned the kids and I to our resort and returned to the doctors surgery to wait for over five hours for the wife to finish up. Drove her to a cheap chemist for supplies and back to the resort. The clinic was also full ( about 20-25 people waiting) when we arrived, and embarrassingly we were called before we even found a seat to sit down. ( we were embarrassed because it wasn't technically an "emergency" and there were so many people waiting). Our daughter was also treated in the same visit. The whole thing cost just over Aud$200, which was reimbursed through our 1Cover travel insurance, but not very expensive if we didn't happen to have it. My dental emergency was much of the same. We asked the taxi driver who we had been using a bit. He took us to a clinic in Namaka (between Nadi and the airport). 4hrs of treatment, including X-rays, drilling and filling, needles, antibiotics and pain-killers and only AUD$125. He couldn't save the tooth without root canal, which had to be done over a 3week period, and we were returning home in two days. I told him I couldn't afford root canal in Australia, just pull the tooth. He wouldn't as one of the roots was bent and he was worried it would snap, requiring surgery which I didn't really have time for. So he patched it up, I returned home and had the tooth removed 4 days later.

Despite me telling my dentist all his advice, the root snapped and she dug a massive hole in my gum and needle wearing off finally got the shrapnel out and proceeded to hit me for $450. My $125 Fijian bill and the taxi fares were fully covered by 1Cover, and it was a thoroughly professional experience. To the point now that I would seriously consider flying back to him to have any further work done.

Bottom line is, just like anywhere else in the world, the hospitals are crap, and you won't get service. The silver lining is, the private clinics are inexpensive and very professional, should you be left with the bill, or it is a pre-existing condition that insurance won't cover. Don't let it stop you from holidaying in Fiji.