Australia Medical Team in the country conducting specialized paediatric surgery at NRH
Paediatric (infants, children, young adults) patients at the National Referral Hospital are currently receiving specialized paediatric surgery services.
This is possible with the visit of a group of Australian Medical team comprising of two Surgeons, two Anaesthetist, an operating room nurse and a Paediatric surgery nurse who have been working alongside our local surgeons to perform these specialised and complex surgical procedures since the 22nd of November.
Over 80 paediatric patients, including children born with abnormal anus, (anorectal anomalies) and cannot pass stool normally, those with abnormal bowel, constipation issues, abnormal urinary systems, and other medical complications, have been screened and surgical procedures performed to those needing it.
It is expected by the end of their visit on the 2nd of December, a total of 30 plus major surgeries will be performed and tens of minor cases to be addressed.
The group’s team leader Professor David Croaka said that the team is pleased to be in the country assisting Solomon Islands surgeons performing these important and critical surgeries for newborn babies, children and young adults that could otherwise cost families dearly to receive overseas.
“Apart from work, we are also transferring critical knowledge and skills through hands-on training and presentations to the local surgeons and hope that these will go a long way to preserving the health and lives of paediatric patients after we leave”, said Professor Croaka.
He thanked their sponsor, John James Foundation for making their brief visit possible. The Foundation is based in Canberra, Australia and was established to improve health outcomes within and beyond Canberra.
The Solomon Islands has been a recipient to this initiative since 2015, with yearly visits from surgeons in Australia. The COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions in the past two years has halted the annual visits till this month, the first since the reopening of the borders.
Dr Rooney Jagilly, NRH Head of General Surgery Department and local counterpart for the visiting team, said that the team is providing high quality specialised care in paediatric surgery that is service is not available at NRH however through working alongside the visiting team the local team’s capacity is being enhanced. He further adds that it is a joy to see the children and their parents happy with the outcome of receiving life-changing surgeries.
Dr George Malefoasi Chief Executive officer NRH thanked the John James Foundation as the sponsor and the visiting group under the leadership of Professor Croaka while explaining that many of the paediatric patients have been waiting for this opportunity since travelling overseas for some is simply out of the question.
“Travelling overseas to receive such surgeries is costly and many families would not be able to afford it. Therefore thank you Professor Croaka and your team for your willingness to travel to Honiara to assist us with your specialities and expertise”, said Dr Malefoasi.
Professor Croaka and his team also provide pro bono specialist treatment to several paediatric surgical patients referred by ROMAC in the Solomon Islands that receive treatment in Canberra, Australia over the last ten years.
The visiting team will be look into securing a formal program to train local surgeons and nurses to subspecialise in paediatric surgery, to ensure local capacity enhancement and sustenance of the specialised service in the country.
Two (2) visits from the team to NRH is being planned for April and October 2023.