Pacific surgeons tackle planning issues

By Deidre Fanene 07 September 2016, 12:00AM

The 11th Pacific Islands Surgeons Association three-day conference is being held this week at the Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi building.

The meeting sees different surgeons from all around the Pacific discussing issues that need to be addressed.

High on the agenda for each country will be gathering statistics of qualified medical personnel and planning, with the assistance of governments.  

Samoa’s Minister of Health, Tuitama Dr. Leao Tuitama  said the conference theme “Pacific surgery – directions and indicators” speaks volumes of the status of our surgical field in the Pacific and the fact that there is a need to develop, guide, direct and own direction in the next 50 years.

“Understanding where gaps are in terms of data, equity, services and capacity therefore calls for common and minimum core indicators for regional comparison,” said Tuitama.

“It is about ensuring that the indicators chosen will help to answer key policy and implementation questions and enable forward planning for health and development.

“In essence, that requires our measuring value, but not valuing measures.”

President of the Pacific Islands Surgeons Association, Lord Viliami Tangi told the Samoa Observer yesterday that there will be many issues that will be discussed in the conference but the main issue that we will cover in this meeting will deal with where we are.

“How the people of the Pacific access safe and affordable surgery when they need it, we need to look hard into that and plan in the pacific,” he said.

“How many qualified surgeons, anaesthetists and obstetricians that a country needs?

“This is similar in other Pacific countries and most of the time we don’t know, we just continue working and doing operations but critically we need that support of the politicians to work out the actual surgical plan for the country.”

Lord Tangi went on to say that every Pacific country needs to have surgical plans not only health plans but in surgery which will cover the issues faced by surgeons.

“What human resource workforce requires, what the hospital is setting up and we need people to feel that they can access a safe and affordable surgery,” he said.

“We will also cover trauma, humanitarian responses to emergencies and the workforce but the main issue that I as the president of the Surgeons Association would like to spend more time on, is how to educate our surgeons and co-workers.

“We don’t need to just look at the patients coming in and then plan operations and then send them home, but plan for the future.

“We need to sustain delivery and good quality, surgical services.

“This will be our main focus and it’s important for all the participants to concentrate on those things at our meeting.”

From this three day conference the President said he would like to have young surgeons involved in the planning for the various Pacific islands.

“It’s for our young surgeons to be able to be involved in planning, that is our aim and that is the sort of thing that we don’t just leave to the politician but surgeons must be involved in it,” he said.

The P.I.S.A. conference is held every two years and the next conference will be held in Suva, Fiji.

By Deidre Fanene 07 September 2016, 12:00AM

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