Sai Neuro Team Visit to Fiji – Oct 2010

The Sai Neurological Team visited Fiji from 18 to 29 October 2010 and provided specialist medical service at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital, (CWM) in Suva, Fiji.

The participants in the team were

  • Professor K Nadanachandran – Neurosurgeon and Team Leader
  • Dr Clifford Peady – Anaesthetist
  • Mr Paul Chicchio – OR Nurse

The team arrived in Suva in the early hours of 19 October due to a delayed flight and commenced work by meeting with the members of the organising committee. The first day was devoted to a paediatric clinic for children. Twenty one patients were seen.

The next day, on 20 October, an adult clinic was held and fifty patients were seen.

Surgical operations commenced the next day. Nine major and two minor procedures were carried out without any major complications. Two patients needed the entire day each for removal of large brain tumours.

Sai Medical Neurological team at work in Fiji
Sai Medical Neurological team at work in Fiji

Neurological procedures included five Craniotomies for tumours, two lumbar laminectomies, one Ventriculo peritoneal shunt and two facet injections.

Hands on teaching was done by all three members of the team.

The team leader, Professor Nadanachandran also attended the hospital’s weekly clinical conference and made a PowerPoint presentation on Lumbar Canal Stenosis.

A considerable amount of medical consumables were also donated to the hospital.

Discussions were held with the health administrators on the impending arrival in Canberra Hospital for a physician from the Colonial War Memorial hospital, Suva, to train in Neurology and a surgical registrar to train in neurosurgery. This is a Sai Medical initiative.

Through the work of Mr. Kanti Jinna of Canberra an OR nurse is being offered a nursing scholarship by ACT health at the University of Canberra and was also assisted with the examination fees for the IELTS test.

Fiji has no neurological unit in any of its hospitals. Fijians with brain tumours and children with abnormalities cannot receive any treatment.

Therefore, whenever the Neurological team visits, they must take all equipment required to provide this specialist medical service. The equipment is bulky, heavy, and vastly exceeds normal airline luggage limits; the team needs much assistance to supply the neurological service, a service given free, with love from the heart.

Hence, the Neurological team wishes to acknowledge that many providers, organisations and individuals came together and provided their goods, services, donations and talents to make this possible. All these contributions make this this selfless service possible:

  • Air Pacific for the three complimentary tickets and 70 kg excess baggage allowance
  • Mr Kanti Jinna, for continuing to negotiate and coordinate the above and other help
  • Mr YP Reddy of Fiji for assisting the OR nurse
  • Medtronic Australia for lending the drills and generously providing shunts, Timesh and other equipment.
  • ABC – Action for Better Community of Suva for assistance with local travel and dinners
  • The Canberra Hospital and ACT Health for providing medical consumables
  • Various donors in Australia and Fiji
  • Pacific Island Project for medical supplies and offering assistance with accommodation in the first week
  • Medical and Nursing staff and the administration of Colonial War Memorial Hospital of Suva, for their co-operation