“The best health intervention is lifestyle intervention,” South Pacific Division (SPD) president Glenn Townend said during the opening ceremony of the new Hope Clinic in Suva, Fiji, on May 6, 2022. It was Townend’s first trip outside Australia in two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Townend reminded those attending the ceremony that lifestyle medicine reduces the risks of acute health diseases and is growing in demand across Australia, New Zealand, and other South Pacific nations.
Located in the center of Suva’s central business district, the new clinic has a dietician and a psychologist, with a General Practitioner and a nurse joining the team soon. Services include general and diet consultation, counseling, lifestyle medicine assessment, review, and medical report.
Alongside the clinic, there is a juice bar and a vegan café, which has been operating for two years, promoting lifestyle as a viable means of treating and preventing diseases, especially through a whole-foods, plant-based diet.
Hope Clinic psychologist Sofaia Vodosese said the cafe, which serves fresh vegan and vegetarian foods, has been influencing the community. “We have seen the change and how people are becoming more health conscious. We praise God for the life of Mili Mataika and her husband, for the great food they provide each day,” she said.
The idea of a clinic established in Suva was conceived between 2013 and 2014 while Townend was president of the Trans-Pacific Union Mission (TPUM).
“The South Pacific Division is grateful for the resolve to see this through, and we are hoping other clinics will be established in other missions within [the territory],” Townend said.
“Science and medicine, through research, have affirmed the God-given health message of Adventists, and it has now become clear that lifestyle medicine and a plant-based diet is the best place to go,” he added.
Former Fiji Mission (FM) health director and Hope Clinic physician Alipate Vakamocea thanked external partners that have contributed toward the clinic’s establishment and operation, including Fiji’s Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization, Fiji National Provident Fund, Smiles Café, and many others.
FM president Nasoni Lutunaliwa thanked SPD leaders for their full support to establish the clinic. “We hope that it will continue to render support towards its future growth,” he said.