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This page is for posting information about Rotuman communities anywhere in the world. If you have news about past or upcoming events, or happenings of special interest to members of the Rotuman community, please send the information via email to <ahoward@hawaii.edu> for posting. Postings can be either in Rotuman or English. We also invite commentaries about news stories. Sports news can be found at http://www.rotuma.net/sports/ Announcements of births, marriages, graduations and other life events can be found at http://www.rotuma.net/life_events

The News

From Fiji Broadcasting Co. (29 February 2024)

Coconuts a lifeline for Rotuman

By Nikhil Aiyush Kumar

Around 40 participants are being trained in the 16th Whole Nut Processing Training in Juju Village which is being facilitated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Waterways Research Division.

The participants represent all seven districts on the island and have been fully engaged in the hands-on training.

Principal Research Officer Agronomy, Amena Banuve and his support team have been leading the training and have stressed the importance of coconuts and their ability to assist families in earning additional income.

Banuve highlights the value addition of coconuts as it empowers them to make use of the abundance of coconut resources to sustain their livelihoods.

The Principal Research Officer adds this training aims to demonstrate to coconut farmers and stakeholders the diverse range of coconut products that can be derived from different parts of the coconut, including the husk, kernel, shells, and water.

The training covers the production of Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO), soap making, Magimagi (coconut fibre cordage), coconut chips, and coconut handicrafts.

These products offer an alternative revenue stream and have export potential, especially considering the presence of different fruit fly strains on the island.

Currently, into the third week of training, participants learnt more about the importance of soil health, how to take soil samples, learnt the benefits of coconut, and tree crop varieties and their uses.

The training will end this week and it is envisaged that the participants will be able to start their niche markets using the abundant resources around them.


From Thinklandscape (23 February 2024)

Pacific Islanders chart a greener course for shipping


From Fiji Broadcasting Co. (22 February 2024)

Preserving the Rotuman language remains a challenge

By Peceli Naviticoko

Protecting the Rotuman language remains a challenge for today's generations and there is a need for younger generations to take ownership of speaking or learning it.

This, according to Fiji Rotuman Association Council Members Paserio Samisoni.

He highlights the vulnerability of the language after the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization classified the Rotuman language as an endangered language.

He says that though the government has implemented the teaching of the Rotuman language in Fiji's secondary schools, the challenges remain.

"If you look at a class, maybe there are one or two Rotuman students, and there are other students who don't want to learn the language. They will want to learn English to enhance their level of education, but not the Rotuman dialect. So yes, I was involved in those discussions many years ago, but it's a problem too if you have that in the curriculum here, but who is going to learn the Rotuman language? I don't think so; the whole class won't work."

Samisoni states that with the help of the IPA Learning Center which has enabled the teaching of the Rotuman language and culture to its members and somehow merged the gap and worked towards retaining the preservation of the Rotuman language for future generations, there is still improvement to be done.

He adds that everything begins at home and it's about time that Rotuman's parents start speaking it to their children before it's completely gone with the wind of change.


From Fiji Times (8 February 2024)

New facility to offer full services – Minister

Opening of hospital in Rotuma

From 2019 to 2023, about 300 cases were referred from Rotuma to the CWM Hospital in Suva for further investigations and treatment, says Health Minister Dr Atonio Lalabalavu.

Opening Rotuma’s new $10.3million subdivisional hospital on Wednesday, Dr Lalabalavu in a statement said in addition to these cases, 44 cases required emergency medical evacuation from Rotuma at a total cost of $880,000 or an average of $176,000 annually.

With the new hospital facility and its improved capability to investigate and treat patients, Dr Lalabalavu said travelling to Viti Levu to access health facilities would be a practice of the past as the new hospital would offer full services.

“In addition, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services has boosted the hospital’s staff establishment from the current 37 to 50,” he said in a statement.

“With new positions such as medical laboratory scientist, ward assistant, dental therapist, health inspector, cleaner, cook, and handyman added to the health facility’s workforce.

“Some of these new positions are now in the hospital while others will be recruited in the weeks ahead.”

Dr Lalabalavu said the new and improved capabilities at the hospital were important and necessary as the ministry was mindful of Rotuma’s geographical position in relation to the rest of Fiji.

He said this would further help hospital staff tackle the growing disease burden of NCDs such as diabetes, hypertension as well as dengue, typhoid, and leptospirosis on the island.


From Fiji Times (8 February 2024)

$10.3m hospital opens in Rotuma

Hospital opening in Rotuma

After nine years, the new $10.3million Rotuma Subdivisional Hospital was opened on Wednesday, marking a momentous occasion in the history of health services on Rotuma and Fiji.

A statement from the Ministry of Health states the hospital will serve a population of about 1899 people on Rotuma’s 22 villages.

In his address, Health Minister Dr Atonio Lalabalavu said the new hospital replaced the old Rotuma Rural Hospital at the same site.

Dr Lalabalavu said work on the new hospital started in 2015, however, many factors contributed to the delay in construction, which included the distance from the mainland where the resources and technical expertise were sourced from, and the COVID outbreak in 2020 and 2021.

“Today’s milestone commissioning brings to conclusion the establishment of the newest addition to the family of health facilities under the Ministry of Health and Medical Services,” Dr Lalabalavu said in the statement.

“The old hospital was a wooden structure with many parts deteriorating from the many years of use and decay.

“The hospital had served the people well over the years and was at high risk of catastrophic damage if a severe climatic event struck the island.”

Dr Lalabalavu said the hospital, the only public health facility on the island, boasted a range of services that would be of a higher standard.

“I also anticipate that the new facility will now be in a better position to cater for more regular outreach specialist teams from CWM Hospital and Labasa Hospital.”

The cyclone-proof hospital will include 11 admission beds compared with only four beds in the older hospital, a birthing unit, a new operating theatre, new oxygen concentrator machines, and new patient monitoring equipment.

Dr Lalabalavu thanked the military, in particular, the engineers or the “Mataisau” Regiment and subcontractors for their perseverance in the construction of the hospital.

He urged staff to utilise the resources of the new hospital to deliver the best health service to the people of Rotuma.


From Fiji Broadcasting Co. (8 February 2024)

New Rotuma hospital to reduce reliance on costly evacuation

By Praneeta Prakash

The Ministry of Health will now be able to save an average of $176,000 annually following the opening of the new Rotuma Sub-divisional Hospital.

Minister Doctor Atonio Lalabalavu says from 2019 to 2023, 300 cases were referred from Rotuma to the CWM Hospital in Suva for further investigations and treatment.

He says of these, 44 cases required emergency medical evacuation from Rotuma at a total cost of $880,000.

The Health Minister says the new hospital facility with the improved capability to investigate and treat patients is anticipated to reduce this load significantly for the Ministry.

“As the only public health facility on the island, the new hospital will now boast a range of services that will be of higher standard than what existed before. The new cyclone-proof hospital now is now bigger with eleven admission beds compared with only four beds in the older hospital. It now has designated wards for men, women, children, and isolation ward.”

The new hospital, built at a cost of $10.3 million has replaced the old Rotuma Rural Hospital at the same site.

Doctor Lalabalavu says the old hospital had served the people well over the years and was at high risk of catastrophic damage if a severe climatic event struck the island.

He adds there were no backup power generator for 24hours electricity service, and no mortuary services.

The new Rotuma hospital will serve 1899 people in the 22 villages.

A piece of new biomedical equipment has also been purchased and installed at the hospital.

In addition, the Ministry of Health has boosted the hospital’s staff establishment from the current 37 to 50, with new positions such as medical laboratory scientist, ward assistant, dental therapist, health inspector, cleaner, cook, and handyman added to workforce for the new hospital.

Doctor Lalabalavu says some of these new positions are now in the hospital while others will be recruited in the weeks ahead.


From Fiji Broadcasting Co. (7 February 2024)

Rotuma Hospital ready to serve the public

By Ritika Pratap

The newly built Rotuma Hospital has been officially handed over to the Ministry of Health by the Republic of Fiji Military Forces.

The facility was handed over by Lieutenant Colonel Semi Mocelutu, the Commanding Officer of the Engineers Regiment.

The ceremony was attended by several officials, including Commander Land Force Colonel Onisivoro Covunisaqa, and other senior officials from Rotuma.

After nine long years of construction, the much-anticipated facility will be opened by Minister for Health Dr Ratu Atonio Lalabalavu tomorrow.

The project, which was fast-tracked by the current Government, aims to provide essential health services to the remote island's population of almost 2000 people, benefiting residents in 15 main villages.

This is an important step in improving healthcare and community development in Fiji.

Rotum Hospital Opening

[Source: Ministry of Health & Medical Services – Fiji/Facebook]


From FijiOne News (23 January 2024)

Fiji TV offically launches Rotuman news programme

By Edna Low

The Rotuman language, spoken largely by the indigenous Rotuman people in Fiji, has been recognised as endangered by linguistic experts.

Yesterday marked an important move to promote and protect Rotumans unique linguistic heritage. In a significant step towards preserving linguistic diversity, Fiji TV premiered a new news programme titled Filo’Ne Rogrogo yesterday, January 22 in the Rotuman language. The initiative came as part of efforts to preserve the Rotuman language, which is currently facing the threat of extinction.

Fiji TV’s decision to dedicate airtime to this Rotuman news programme is part of its effort towards cultural inclusivity and diversity as it is anticipated to play a pivitol role in revitalising the Rotuman language and contributing to its preservation. The news programme aired on the company’s iTaukei channel – Na Lololo.

Filo’ Ne Rogrogo news presenter, Petero Marafono, is a seasoned teacher with over three decades of teaching experience and fluency in both written and spoken Rotuman.

Speaking about the programmes objectives, Marafono highlighted the importance of language preservation in maintaining cultural identity. He expressed his dedication to bridging generations through language, ensuring that the Rotuman community continues to thrive with a strong sense of cultural pride.

Filo’ Ne Rogrogo will air on weeknights at 8PM on Na Lololo, except for Wednesday January 24, where it will air at 7:30PM.


From Fiji Broadcasting Co. (8 January 2024)

Fiji Airports revises maintenance schedule

By Praneeta Prakash

Fiji Airports has revised its scheduled maintenance work timeline and operational status for Lakeba, Matei in Taveuni and Rotuma airports.

This has been done in consultation with industry partners and stakeholders in the North...

Fiji Airports Chief Executive Officer, Mesake Nawari, says it is important to consult stakeholders and industry partners when planning maintenance work to better manage the operational impact on the domestic
routes.

He says they have strategically planned the runway maintenance work in collaboration with multiple stakeholders and industry partners with a collective goal to minimize inconvenience to customers.

Nawari says Fiji Airports is committed to maintaining runways to meet the required operational safety standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization and, at the same time, supporting industry partners
in driving business growth and minimizing the operational impact for travellers...

The maintenance work at Rotuma Airport will begin on November 4 and continue for six weeks.

There will be no impact on scheduled flights for two flight days on Wednesday and Friday, while it will be closed on other days.


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