Never give up

Dr Tevita Navuda during an official engagement in Wauosi, Navosa. Picture: FACEBOOK/TEVITA NAVUDA

Growing up in Sigatoka in the ’70s and ’80s, Tevita Navuda dreamt of becoming a medical officer. His desire to pursue medicine stemmed from his vision of giving back to the community he was born and raised in.

So becoming a doctor came as no surprise to him. Today, Dr Tevita Navuda is one of the longest serving medical professionals in the province of Navosa/ Nadroga. But before he could wear a white coat and examine the body using a stethoscope, he had to first become a nurse.

Dr Navuda is one of three doctors stationed at the new Navosa Sub-Divisional Hospital which serves more than 10,000 villagers in the province and the highlands of Ba.

Originally from Nukuilau, Noikoro in Navosa, Dr Navuda has almost 30 years of experience in the medical field. He attained his primary education at Noikoro Distrcit School, Namataku District School, Batiri Public School before doing his secondary education at Navosa Central College.

Dr Navuda began his journey as a nurse after graduating in 1994. The 52-year-old said being a male nurse was ‘new’ in the 1900s.

“Back then being a male nurse was a rarity,” the father-of-three said.

“I remember going for an interview at nursing school. I was the only boy who was there, all the rest were females. “When the list came out there were only three boys’ names on the nursing list.” Dr Navuda said, however, being a male nurse had its perks.

“I would go wherever they needed me because as a male I was able to lift heavy objects and patients as well.

“But that was when I was young and could travel around.”

He moved to Nukuilau Nursing Station in Navosa between 2005 and 2006 before returning to Sigatoka Hospital.

He spent majority of his years at the Sigatoka Hospital because he claimed he was well liked by the people and by the late Turaga Na Kalevu Ratu Sakiusa Makutu.

But after recognizing the need for specialised medical care, he decided to upgrade his skills and went back to medical school.

“In 2007, I went back to FNU to do midwifery. “After graduation I was in charge of the Sigatoka Hospital accident and emergency, and maternity unit.

“I spent some time as a midwife, yet I still wasn’t satisfied so I said okay I’ll go back to school and become a doctor.”

After successfully completing his studies in 2012, he was assigned to the Sigatoka Hospital where he served for one year before spending three years at the Vatulele Health Center.

“During my years at Vatulele Health Centre I was usually called back for relieving duty at Lomawai Health Centre, Korolevu Health Centre and Keiyasi Health Centre in Navosa. In 2018, he was posted to the Navosa Health Centre to relieve a doctor who was transferred to the Colonial War Memorial Hospital (CWMH) in Suva.

“The hospital underwent renovation in 2020 and I returned to Sigatoka Hospital. On February 23, 2021, the $30 million Navosa Hospital officially opened and he was requested to work at the new medical facility.

He was happy about his new posting because it gave him the opportunity to serve 26 villagers, 58 settlements, 11 kindergartens and 13 primary and two secondary school in the Nadroga/Navosa Province.

“I had come to watch the opening of the hospital and they told me that the next day I was to begin work there. Since then, Dr Navuda has never left Navosa.

He enjoys his career journey, starting as a nurse before transitioning to becoming a doctor. He encourages young people to never limit themselves and work hard to achieve their dreams.

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