Sai Neuro Team Visit to Fiji – Oct ~ Nov 2012

neurosurgeryThe Sai Neurological Team visited Fiji from 22 October through 2 November 2012 and provided specialist medical service at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital, (CWM) in Suva, Fiji.

This is an ongoing annual visit over the past 12 years, sometimes in collaboration with the Pacific Island Project (PIP) of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons ( 4 visits ). It was funded this year mainly by the PIP and assisted by “Action for Better Community” in Suva.

The team consisted of a Neurosurgeon (A/Prof K Nadanachandran) Coordinator of the Sai Medical Unit of Australia and Zone 3, Dr Cliff Peady Anaesthetist, Dr Alan Biribo neurosurgical trainee from Fiji now in training in Canberra, Mr Paul Chichhio and Ms Rhonda Hosking both operating theatre nurses.

This is the 12th year of this project.

The total number of patients who consulted was 105 including 29 children.

Number of operations:

Adults – Brain – 8 operations
Adults – Spine – 3 operations
Children – 10 operations

Dr Biribo gave 3 Tutorials to the local registrars; Dr Nadanachandran gave a formal presentation at a clinical meeting. He was also invited to present a talk on Human Values and Career Growth at the University of South Pacific at a workshop to the undergraduates. This workshop was an initiative of the local Sai Youth.

Dr Nadanachandran and Dr Biribo had a meeting with Dr Neil Sharma Minister for Health of the Government of Fiji. This was in relation to the planned opening of the first neurosurgical Unit in Fiji.

The Sai Medical Unit has been a driving force in this project, arranging for Dr Biribo a Fijian doctor to training in Canberra for 2 years in neurosurgery. It has also assisted the training of a neurologist, and next year a radiologist and 4 nurses from Fiji at the Canberra Hospital.


The new Neurosurgical Unit is expected to commence in July 2013 at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva.

In addition to service and supplies given by our own members, the Sai Medical Neuro Team gratefully acknowledges the invaluable assistance provided in one or more ways by the following:

  • Members of the Team
  • Medtronic Australia (Gemma Thwaite and Paul Mathews) for the generous support over 11 yrs. with drills and shunts etc.
  • The Canberra Hospital
  • Air Pacific
  • Action for Better community Fiji for supporting one of the nurses.
  • Ms Kate Newell and Lito de Silva of PIP