Healthcare in Fiji
Fiji is a developing country and the standard of healthcare reflects this. Expats moving to Fiji, and travellers visiting the islands for even just a short period, must ensure that they are in possession of a fully comprehensive healthcare policy so they can access private medical treatment if the need arises.
Public healthcare in Fiji
The standard of public healthcare in Fiji varies considerably. In urban areas, Fiji’s public hospitals tend to be adequate but in rural areas public health facilities are very basic and inefficient, or non-existent. In many cases, Fijians living in rural areas have to travel hours for treatment.
Expats can seek treatment at government-run hospitals in Fiji but standards of care are not always good and there tends to be long waiting times. Doctors and medical staff in Fiji generally speak a good standard of English, so communication is not much of an issue.
Expats are advised to opt for private healthcare in Fiji wherever possible, as standards are likely to be closer to those in Western countries with shorter waiting times and more modern facilities.
Private healthcare in Fiji
Suva Private Hospital is one of the very few private facilities in Fiji. It has a 24-hour medical centre with general practitioners, specialist practitioners and comfortable in-patient accommodation. However, it does not have the full range of diagnostic equipment or specialists typical of developed countries, so expats should have health insurance arrangements in place to allow evacuation to, and treatment in, Australia or New Zealand.
Dental care in Fiji is adequate, with most dentists being trained in Australia or New Zealand. However, expect to pay a fee for any type of dental treatment. Optometry services are available and glasses and lenses are cheap, although it can take some time for lenses to be imported into the country.
Pharmacies in Fiji
Pharmaceutical and chemist supplies are adequate, but lack the choice available in Australia and New Zealand. A small number of pharmacists have arrangements in place to import prescription drugs or vaccinations.
Expats and travellers planning on travelling to Fiji should ensure they have an adequate supply of necessary medication with them at all times. While arrangements can be made to get specialised drugs imported, this is often a lengthy process.
Pharmacies is Fiji can be found in major towns and cities, as well as close to or within most tourist resorts. However, it is rare to find a pharmacy that is open 24/7.
Health hazards in Fiji
There are a number of health risks that expats should be aware of when moving to Fiji. Food poisoning and stomach bugs can be an issue for new arrivals. Expats should be careful when purchasing meat and fish products, particularly from roadside markets where there is no refrigeration.
Expats should be careful about the consumption of water. Avoid tap water, salad and raw vegetables washed with tap water and ice in soft drinks. Water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases such as typhoid and hepatitis are prevalent in Fiji.
Pre-travel vaccinations and restrictions for Fiji
Travellers and expats moving to Fiji are advised to check the latest advice on vaccinations required prior to arriving in Fiji with their local travel clinic.
Tuberculosis is prevalent in Fiji, as is the mosquito-borne disease, dengue fever, which has become endemic across the country as a whole. Note that there are no vaccines for dengue fever.
There are no special immunisations required for travel to Fiji. However, those moving to Fiji should ensure the following vaccinations are up-to-date:
Emergency services in Fiji
In the event of a medical emergency, expats can call an ambulance in Fiji on 911. However, expats should be aware that the emergency medical infrastructure in Fiji is underdeveloped and response times for ambulances can be slow. Furthermore, ambulances in Fiji are poorly equipped and staff are not always well trained.