The fundraising partnership between New Zealand’s largest hotel operator, AccorHotels and charity Cure Kids, has resulted in the opening of the Fiji Island’s first mobile clinic dedicated to screening children for Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD).
The mobile clinic was officially launched on 11 January by Fiji’s Ministry of Health and Medical Services Minister, Jone Usamate, at Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa.
The clinic, which has been custom built for undertaking echocardiograms of the heart for children in the community, will enable a specialist medical officer to detect cases of RHD, and in some cases before there are symptoms. Patients already diagnosed with RHD will also use the facility.
On the day of the launch, over 70 children including children of AccorHotels staff were screened resulting in one new case of RHD detected and another possible case to be reviewed further. Arrangements are being made to ensure children with RHD receive penicillin injections on an ongoing bases to prevent progression of the condition.
Over a 10 year period, AccorHotels have raised over $2 million for Cure Kids-led child health initiatives in Fiji. Most of these funds have been raised by teams of AccorHotels staff from across Fiji, Australia and New Zealand competing in the bi-annual AccorHotels Race to Survive for Cure Kids Fiji. In 2014, the event raised over $600,000 for Cure Kids to help fund the Fiji RHD Program.
Cure Kids CEO Frances Benge commended AccorHotels’ ongoing commitment to raising funds and giving back to the people of Fiji.
“AccorHotels have been the driving force behind Cure Kids in Fiji for almost a decade and their tireless efforts to raise funds and work with us and our partners to improve health outcomes for children in Fiji is quite remarkable. We are delighted that this mobile clinic – which wouldn’t be possible without their support – can be launched with AccorHotels and the staff who have helped fund it, can experience the significance of what their efforts have enabled,” Benge said.
Senior Vice President Operations New Zealand, Fiji & French Polynesia Chris Sedgwick said, “It is incredibly heartening and rewarding for our hotel teams to see the fruition of their fundraising efforts with the launch of Fiji’s first Rheumatic Heart Disease mobile clinic. AccorHotels is extremely proud of our partnership with Cure Kids and it’s great to see a tangible outcome in the mobile clinic that will directly help save the lives of children living in Fiji.