Suva, Fiji – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Office in Fiji and the Sai Prema Foundation Fiji, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) today, that will become the framework of collaboration in advancing its work towards the Sustainable Development Goals.
The collaborative partnership signifies their mutual commitment to identify and address the needs in the community to promote healthy living and well-being for all ages. This includes recognizing the relevant SDGs in accordance with Sai Prema Foundation’s projects and initiatives.
The Resident Representative of the UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji, Levan Bouadze said, “UNDP is pleased to be collaborating with Sai Prema Foundation Fiji on this important initiative, to further expand the ongoing programmes with a specific vision of achieving the SDGs aligned to the Foundation’s projects and initiatives. We want to encourage integrated growth, that truly leaves nobody behind.”
Sai Prema Foundation Fiji is working on a number of initiatives in healthcare, education and social services; and through this MoU, the Foundation will have access to UNDP’s technical support and leverage its partnerships to further strengthen and broaden the Foundation’s on-going initiatives such as developing an online medical record system for a more effective treatment of patients in rural Fiji, increasing the knowledge base of Pediatric Cardiology in Fiji and the Pacific, expand the Foundation’s national feeding project for the poor and needy, and rural outreach medical project, among a number of other initiatives.
Internationally renowned Bollywood singer and Sai Prema Foundation Fiji Director Sumeet Tappoo said, “We are delighted to be given the opportunity to collaborate with UNDP in working towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals through our various programs, initiatives and projects. Sai Prema Foundation is committed to serving the underprivileged and needy people of Fiji and making a difference to their lives and this partnership will further assist us in achieving what we have envisioned”.
Tappoo also spoke about the Foundation’s FJ$25million specialist Children’s Heart Hospital which is the largest project undertaken by any NGO in the history of Fiji. “There can’t be any better example than our Hospital project to illustrate our commitment towards the people of Fiji and the Pacific. This Hospital will save the lives of children suffering from Congenital Heart Disease and grant them a new Gift of Life. The most amazing aspect of this Hospital is that there will be no billing counter. All surgeries and procedures will be completely free of charge,” he said.
All Pacific island nations will also be engaged to enter into a collaborative arrangement with UNDP, Ministry of Health, Government of Fiji and Sai Prema Foundation to combat the increasing incidence of Congenital Heart Disease through identifying complementary programs with a focussed two-pronged objective: firstly to increase awareness of the disease and secondly to treat the disease through the Children’s Heart Hospital in Fiji.
As per the World Health Organisation’s global statistic, one percent of children are born with a Congenital Heart defect. That translates to approximately 200 children in Fiji and over 2,500 children in the Pacific who are born with Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) every year. Currently, there are no pediatric cardiac facilities available anywhere in Fiji or the Pacific.
During its implementation, the partners will adopt and use a human rights-based approach integrating citizen participation, voice and agency especially the most marginalised and vulnerable communities.
The Sai Sanjeevani Children’s Heart Hospital Fiji located in Nasese, Suva is a project by the Sai Prema Foundation Fiji. Once Fiji’s borders open and installers are allowed into the country, they will install specialist medical equipment, the Hospital will be ready for an official inauguration by the Prime Minister of Fiji Hon. Voreqe Bainimarama.