Anaseini Fatafehi Tu’iha’angana received the Fiji National University’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences’ Dean’s Award 2021 after completing her Bachelors in Pharmacy.

The Pacific Community’s (SPC) Deputy Director for the Public Health Division, Sunia Soakai while in Tonga on deployment caught up with the 25-year-old pharmacist as she works at the Vaiola Hospital. He commends her achievement and contributions to Tonga, especially during these trying times.

“She is the thirteenth Tongan national to receive this award since its introduction in 2015. Her expertise has been instrumental towards COVID-19 response.”

Sunia (SPC): What were some of the challenges while undertaking your studies and how did you overcome this?  

Anaseini: I think the main challenge I faced was trying to be time efficient and maintaining a balance between my professional (school) and personal life. Setting goals, removing distractions, a good sleep schedule in addition to hard work, are some of the ways that helped me be more time efficient. It was also helpful to recognize the importance of studying hard but also the need for some good break time to ease the mind.

Sunia (SPC): How will your learnings and expertise contribute to the work in Tonga?

Anaseini: I think that knowledge gained about the principles of disease management and application of this in the clinical setting especially during COVID-19 will greatly strengthen pharmaceutical patient care in Tonga. Also, advanced research and analytical skills gained will aid in carrying out continuous professional development, to maintain up to date knowledge, and help me provide the best possible patient care through evidence-based medicine.

Sunia (SPC): What advice would you give to those currently studying?

Anaseini: Go forth and conquer. Nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it.

Health experts from SPC completed their 8 weeks deployment to Tonga working alongside the Ministry of Health. SPC remains committed to support and assist Pacific Island Countries and Territories providing technical support and capacity development.