Community awareness and engagement activities are an important component of the Fiji National University’s (FNU) learning and teaching delivery to ensure its students receive comprehensive and quality education.
Community visits are a vital part of learning for students at the University’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences’ (CMNHS), as it allows the medical and nursing students to apply their theoretical knowledge and address the health needs of particular communities through their assessments and educational programmes.
Last week, Year 2 students of the Bachelor of Dietetics and Nutrition (BDN) course, under the guidance of three staff members, returned to Vatoa Village in Tailevu to help in the fight against Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).
The group had conducted a pretest health assessment at the village last month and planned a nutrition intervention program for their recent visit.
Associate Professor and Programme Coordinator and Assistant Professor at CMNHS’ Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Dr Pragya Singh, said the students planned a variety of activities for the day. “These activities included role plays, food demonstrations, nutrition education sessions and physical activity sessions,” she said.
“The exposure has greatly enabled students to experience and learn what a community is all about such as their lifestyles, food habits, practices and the strategies that can be used to motivate and educate them on the importance of good nutrition.”
“This community outreach gives students the practical experience to work with the communities and the chance to involve the villagers in the program, which will enhance the overall health and nutritional lifestyles of the communities.”
Village head man (turaga-ni-Koro) Alivereti Bani, said the villagers are grateful to the students for conducting various educational activities that allowed them to understand and incorporate the conveyed messages into their daily living.
BDN student Miliakere Naroba said the visit gave her the opportunity to connect with the community and enhanced her understanding of what was expected in the field.
“I also gained the confidence to lead community-based projects and effectively address the specific health needs of each community,” Naroba said.
A tooth brushing drill was also done by Colgate Palmolive to promote healthy teeth as part of healthy living.
The outreach program was conducted in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Medical Services.