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Women on Rabi Island suffer similar fate as those on other maritime islands when it is time to give birth – they have to leave their homes and travel to hospitals on the mainland. Rabi women, who made their submissions to the Constitution Commission at the weekend, said they needed to have $100 to travel to Savusavu Hospital to seek medical help.
Social worker, Terikano Takesau said the island has a health centre, a doctor and a nurse, yet, the women are told to travel to the mainland hospitals to deliver their baby. The state, Ms Takesau said needed to take responsibility by at least providing reasonable medical facilities to assist island women in their pregnancy. She said women who leave for mainland hospitals were burdened worrying about extra dollars to support them while on mainland; it is an expensive exercise. Then, these women also have to be away from their family in such crucial time. “There should be a provision in the new Constitution to allow equal opportunities for rural women, that they have access to this necessary health services as provided to those in urban areas,” she said.
The plight of young women on Rabi was discussed with Ms Takesau calling for more job opportunities for Banaban women. “Most of our young women end up becoming school drop outs and they get married at very young age but are skilful but there is no form of employment available for them,” she said.
Ms Takesau said the island also did not have access to dental health and TB facilities. She said neither did the island have any blood bank to deal with emergency cases. Representation in Parliament was another area discussed with Ms Takesau calling for 30 per cent of seats in parliament to be reserved for women. Among other submissions to the Commission included a call from the Banabans to the Government to appoint a Banaban to the constituent assembly when it is established to deliberate on the draft constitution. FijiLive
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