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Fiji doctor switch from cash to barter

Christian Fernsby ▼ | May 30, 2020
A Nadi based private GP, Ashank Jyotish Naidu, says he's dropped cash payments at his Namaka practice in response to the news of nearly 800 job losses at Fiji Airways.
Fiji Nadi
Dr Naidu   Fiji Nadi
Dr Naidu announced last week that his clinic would accept whatever patients wanted to contribute using the recently created Barter for a Better Fiji facebook page.

Topics: Fiji

"758 people got laid off from Fiji Airways, it's a big number. And 40,000 have been indirectly or directly affected by the Covid-19 virus economical effects," he said.

"So if we don't do our own individual parts, if we just keep on relying on donations and funds and all those things, how far will that go?"

Dr Naidu's Namaka clinic is a few minutes away from the Nadi International Airport.

"Nadi is known as a jet-set town. It relies heavily on Fiji Airways, it relies heavily on tourism."

The doctor is originally from Sigatoka where he said while impacted, people there could go back to their farms, boats and villages and lean on their subsistence economy.

"In Nadi, not everyone has a farm, not everyone has a boat. So how will these people make their ends meet? The only way we can get this thing done is we all get together, join our hands. If not as a unit, as a Fijian family. We have to help each other."

Dr Naidu had heard many stories from patients, some of them breaking down in tears at being unable to pay. He said it was "soul-breaking".

"I just sat in my car...and I was imagining there are people without jobs who are struggling to make their ends meet.

"I've heard of a story here in Nadi somewhere, a family was just feeding their children and themselves water since morning because they didn't have a grain of rice, didn't have a grain dahl or something to make a basic curry or something to feed their children."

Dr Naidu said it kept playing in his head, over and over again.

"Forget about the money. The money system is a failure. The market economy is not working, when will people realise that? We need a different form of system."

The doctor said he hoped it would not take another crisis like coronavirus for people to change their thinking.