US Embassy hands over medical textbooks to FNU

Press Release Posted On: March 20, 2023

The Fiji National University (FNU) received 5,000 copies of medical textbooks from the United States (US) Embassy in Fiji, in collaboration with the Asia Pacific Foundation.

The students of FNU will benefit greatly from this generous contribution. The US Ambassador to Fiji, Marie Damour, presented the resources to FNU’s Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Unaisi Nabobo-Baba.

Her Excellency, Marie Damour said the United States continues to affirm their commitment to help improve the lives of all Fijians by strengthening literacy and education in the country.

“FNU’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences (CMNHS) was one of the first beneficiaries of this relationship, receiving a set of nearly 200 medical and nursing texts in 2020. The handover is a significant increase with over 5,000 medical texts and nursing guides worth over FD$850,000,” she said.

“It is my sincere hope that these additions to FNU’s library will help Fiji and other South Pacific countries strengthen their public health response, take effective measures against non-communicable diseases, and rise to whatever health challenges the future may present.”

Professor Nabobo-Baba highlighted that books enhance the intellect, imagination, and creativity, as through books people travel the world and understand nuances of life.

“Medical books like the ones we are gifted today, and other books, remain the most flexible and far-reaching medium for the sharing of knowledge. These are so important given the nature of and challenges related to health in the Pacific islands including Fiji. Some of these issues have lingered over time, such as NCDs,” Professor Nabobo-Baba noted.

“It gives me great pleasure to receive these medical resources on behalf of the University from our partners at the US Embassy and The Asia Foundation. Such gifts are deeply valued and in Fijian custom, “gifting” is sacred as it is the way relationships are marked and honoured.”

“Gifted items such as the medical resources today signify deep relational ties. Books are an effective tool in the promotion of reading and quality education. We at FNU honour you, our partners – the US Embassy and The Asia Foundation.”

The Asia Foundation Regional Representative, Ms. Sandra Kraushaar said the organisation is committed to supporting Pacific solutions to Pacific challenges.

“We are so pleased to co-facilitate the provision of medical and nursing texts for future health care workers in the region studying at the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences.”

The texts were provided by Books for Asia, one of the Asia Foundation’s signature programs that has been around for almost 70 years.  This program puts brand-new books and digital content into the hands of students, educators, and leaders.

“Informed by decades of experience and deep local expertise, our work across Asia and the Pacific is focused on good governance, women’s empowerment and gender equality, inclusive economic growth, environment and climate action, and regional and international relations,” Kraushaar said.

The Asia Foundation is a non-profit international development orgnisation committed to improving lives and expanding opportunities across Asia and the Pacific. Headquartered in San Franciso, with an office in Washington, DC, The Asia Foundation works through its network of 18 country offices across Asia and the Pacific, working with public and private partners, the Foundation receives funding from a diverse group of bilateral and multilateral development agencies, foundations, corporations, and individuals. In 2022, we provided $86.7 million in direct programme support and distributed textbooks and other educational materials valued at $2.4 million.

Fiji National University Students Association President Mohammed Iqbal thanked the US Embassy and The Asia Foundation for contributing towards the students learning at FNU.

“The books provided will help our medical students expand their knowledge and it would help them learn more about their medical field. Overall, this would help the health sector in the country from which our people will benefit the most.” Iqbal said.

Student, Shaista Kumar, stated that books play an important role, despite the technology readily available in our lives today.

“Through the handover, students would be able to do their assignments and find answers to their questions by referring to the books. This highlights the significance of the donation and its impact on our education.”

The provision of the medical textbooks aligns with FNU’s commitment to providing high-quality education, as outlined in its Strategic Plan 2021-2026 and in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4.