Fiji

Fiji is home to the Rainbow Reef
Fiji is home to the Rainbow Reef

The nautical attractions of Fiji make for vast reading, with some of the highlights including Denarau Island, Rainbow Reef and Vuda Point. The Sigatoka Sand Dunes otherwise make for a memorable experience, as does Mount Tomanivi.

Around 25,000 British nationals visit Fiji every year. Fiji is 9,827 miles from the United Kingdom and therefore only accessible by airplane.

Flying to Fiji

Flying to Fiji is one of the longest flights possible from the UK. Most flights will take around 30 hours when journeying from London to Suva, Fiji’s capital, but this can increase to around 55 hours with certain flights.

You should discuss how best to manage your diabetes when flying with your diabetes team prior to departing.

Time difference

Fiji is 11 hours ahead of British Summer Time and 12 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, which will likely require substantial alterations to how your manage your diabetes.

Monitoring your blood sugar levels more frequently will be necessary for the first few days, while you should seek advice on your medication schedule from your diabetes specialist before you arrive.

Climate and activity

Fiji experiences a vastly different climate to that of the UK, with blistering average temperatures of 27°C in autumn and winter, while this decreases in spring and summer to around 22°C.

Whichever time of year you visit Fiji you will need to regularly check your blood sugar levels if you take insulin. Warm weather such as Fiji’s can lead to enhanced insulin absorption, particularly following exercise.

You could consider reducing your dosages if you are concerned about hypoglycemia.

Vaccinations

There are no mandatory vaccinations to enter Fiji, however some are recommended. You should consult your doctor eight weeks prior to your departure in order to receive the vaccinations in time.

All travellers are recommended to get vaccinations for hepatitis A and typhoid, which can both be contracted through contaminated food or water. Vaccine for hepatitis B is also recommended for some travellers.

There is no risk of yellow fever in Fiji, although the government of Fiji requires proof of yellow fever vaccination if you have travelled from a country with a risk of the disease.

Otherwise, the opportunity should be taken to ensure existing vaccinations such as your yearly flu jab and those against polio and tetanus are also up to date.

Insulin

You should note which syringes are available in Fiji, with U-100 disposable syringes and glass syringes commonly used.

The vast majority of insulin in the UK is U-100 insulin. If you need to take a different strength of insulin, say in an emergency, it’s important that you use the correct device and syringes for that insulin.

For example, you would use a U-40 syringe for U-40 insulin. You will need to work with a doctor getting the right dose if you’re using a different form of insulin.

Getting medication in Fiji

You will receive the same service as the Fijian citizens. Fiji has three base hospitals, 19 district hospitals and a good network of health centres and private practitioners.

A letter will be required from your GP or consultant stating that you have diabetes and how it is treated.

Full charges will be incurred for consultations or treatment with private practitioners and admission to hospital, but minimal charges will be incurred at health centres. Blood and urine testing kits are available from most commercial pharmacies.

Emergency number

The emergency services telephone number to be called in Fiji is 911.

It is advisable to contact the manufacturing company of your medication prior to leaving the UK to find out what is available in Fiji if your medication gets lost, stolen or damaged. It is also worth checking to see what different names your medication may be listed as.

Diabetes associations

There is one diabetic association in Fiji that can be contacted for information prior to your stay. The address of this association is:

  • Diabetes Fiji (a member of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) since 1983),
    PO Box 11871,
    Suva,
    Fiji
    Tel: +679-3215370 / 3215206
    Email: awkhan55@gmail.com

Questions

  • How is blood glucose measured in Fiji? Unfortunately, we do not have the information of whether blood glucose is measured in mg/dl or mmol/l in Fiji
  • What language is spoken in Fiji? English is the official language of Fiji, but the Fijian language is also spoken
  • Will I need an international driving license when driving in Fiji? No
  • If I want to hire a vehicle during my visit, will I face any form of discrimination? No
  • What sugar free drinks are available in Fiji? Diet Coke and mineral water, among others
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