School of Public Health and Community Medicine

SPHCM Masters student is combating COVID-19 in Fiji

Image Isireli Rabukawaq Fiji Training Centre Covid-19

Masters of Infectious Diseases Intelligence student, Isireli Rabukawaq is applying his epidemiological and infectious disease expertise in Fiji. The COVID-19 pandemic has become his top priority in his job in for the Fiji Centre of Disease Control Centre (CDC) where he's putting into practice the skills he learned from the Masters program. 

What does your work in Fiji involve? 

I am the National Surveillance and Response Coordinator at the Center of Diseases Control in the Ministry of Health & Medical Services (MOHMS). My usual, day-to-day work involves coordinating disease surveillance in Fiji, including the Early Warning and Alert Response System, National Notifiable Surveillance System, Laboratory surveillance (Leptospirosis,Typhoid Fever and Dengue Fever), and the Vaccine Preventable Diseases Surveillance System. As part my work, I also develop and updates guidelines and standard operating procedures for the Communicable Diseases Surveillance system in Fiji, and assist in outbreak response by providing epidemiological advice .

How are you tackling COVID-19?

I'm assisting the Fiji MOHMS in combating and mitigating a COVID-19 outbreak in Fiji. I'm working on a range of initiatives to ensure quality control, data surveillance and a systematic response to the pandemic. This includes developing COVID-19 specific standard operating procedures and guidelines, such as the National COVID-19 Primary and Public Health Guidelines, and the National Contact Tracing and Management Guidelines. Identifying the right software for the MOMHS to use and coordinating COVID-19 samples referred to Fiji CDC are my other responsibilities.

How has your Masters prepared you for this work?  

Doing the Masters of Infectious Disease Intelligence at the SPHCM has equipped me with knowledge I've gained from world-renowned experts and being exposed to perspectives of different stakeholders working in infectious diseases.  

Why did you choose to do your Masters? 

I joined the SPHCM in 2019 because I wanted to increase my knowledge in the area of infectious diseases epidemiology. I wanted to assist the Fiji CDC in combating communicable disease and infectious in Fiji via sound surveillance systems, working towards an integrated surveillance system and mitigating communicable disease outbreaks. I studied disease modelling and did an in-depth course in infectious diseases including epidemiology, bio-statics, bio-security and immunisation, policy and practice.

What would you tell people aspiring to study public health? 

Choose UNSW as you will learned from world renowned experts.The courses are very comprehensive and easy to apply to the real world. There's a never a dull moment in public health especially in the area of infectious diseases.

About the Master of Infectious Diseases Intelligence

Our Master of Infectious Diseases Intelligence, the only one of its kind, is essential for professionals who work in or aspiring to work in health emergencies, outbreaks, infectious diseases risk assessment and emergency responses to infectious diseases. Like all our courses, the Master of Infectious Disease Intelligence can be delivered entirely online. Find out more here.

Image Isireli Rabukawaq combating Covid Fiji

Photo top of page: Training at the Emergency Training Operation Centre in Nadi, Fiji

Photo below: Isireli Rabukawaq at work

Contact Name : 
School of Public Health and Community Medicine (SPHCM)