The specialist team was led by Dr Neil Price, an experienced paediatric urologist with a background in regional healthcare and a strong interest in surgical education.
Dr Price, who has carried out medical visits to Tonga since 2016 and Fiji since 2018, relays the intent and the need behind this recent initiative.
“The overall purpose of the visit was to provide sub-specialty clinical support, some education and professional development for the local team."
“Fiji has one fifth the population of New Zealand but approximately one third of the births each year. In New Zealand there are approximately twenty paediatric surgeons but in Fiji there are approximately two. There are a number of congenital disorders that are pretty rare and it is hard to build up expertise to manage them well."
In addition to supporting the development and capacity building of local staff in the health sector, the specialist team were able to review difficult cases and provide follow up support from previous visits.
“It is very helpful for the team to have visits such as ours to review the cases they are managing, to assess tricky problems and to do operations that are uncommon and require specific expertise that is hard enough to develop and maintain in New Zealand and Australia.”