On October 16, 2020 during the World Federation of Hemophilia (WFH) Annual Meeting of the General Assembly, the Fiji Haemophilia Foundation (FHF) was accredited as an associate national member organization (NMO). The FHF is now part of a family of 147 WFH NMOs around the world.
Kunaal Prasad, President of the FHF, started to unofficially work for the bleeding disorders community in the country when he managed to secure a small donation of factor VIII from an international non-profit in the U.S.A. Upon receiving his first dose, he could not stop thinking about the only two other patients with hemophilia he had met in Fiji. He wanted them to have the same opportunity and feel the same hope he was feeling now that he had access to factor.
The Fiji Haemophilia Foundation (FHF) was established in February 2018 and was officially registered with the government on August 20, 2018. It is based in Tunila, Nadi, on Fiji’s main island, and serves patients from all over the country. The organization currently represents the interests of approximately 40 members, of whom 21 have hemophilia and one has von Willebrand disease (VWD).
When asked about the mission of the FHF, Prasad emphasized it is to ensure that every Fijian living with a bleeding disorder has access to adequate care and treatment regardless of where they live. In a country like Fiji with over 300 islands, getting care to those in need is a major challenge.
The FHF hopes to start by reaching out to the other major islands to establish a working relationship with hospitals that may come in contact with hemophilia cases. They are also working hard to lead patient and family outreach efforts and are providing educational programs to the community. Prasad believes that being part of a larger network will help to keep them informed on the latest developments in care as they continue to advocate with the Fijian government for more support.
The WFH—through the Regional Manager, Southeast Asia and Western Pacific, and dedicated volunteers—will be working with the FHF to help the organization advance care for people with bleeding disorders in the country.
On behalf of the global bleeding disorders community, welcome, Fiji Haemophilia Foundation!