A Seed of Change: Collective Community Ownership of Health and Social Issues [Part 1]

"Let me explain how family planning addresses every single Sustainable Development Goal..."

Dr Swaran is an unsung hero (another female that I want to highlight for International Women's Day). Her ability to transform, connect and deepen my understanding of health, women, and community is an inspiration for all of us on this day.

On the car ride to one of the villages in the Ba Province of Fiji, Dr Swaran was explaining to me how family planning (alone) affects a community and people in a myriad of ways. She described to me how, at the core, addressing women's health is about human rights.

Swaran is a Fiji-native and has been practising medicine in New Zealand, Australia and Fiji. She is the Medical Director of Viseisei Sai Health Centre (VSHC), which she built from the roots up with her husband.

Dr Swaran Sharing a speech about cancer at the Women's Market
Women learning about how to detect for breast cancer

I was on the road with Dr Swaran to understand her project, "Collective Ownership of Health and Social Issues". It seemed like a long title but each word was handpicked to represent an important aspect of the project.

Essentially, what Dr Swarana and her team set out to do is work closely with communities and empower them to tackle many aspects of health and wellness - from nutrition and exercise to domestic violence or abuse.

In my next post, I will share about my experience meeting with the Community Health Workers (CHW). The CHWs are responsible for being a bridge between the different people in the community and spearheading some of the activities and programmes.

I was really touched to learn about the impact the Community Health Workers were having on the community, but also how they themselves were being transformed and gaining confidence to become a true leader.

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