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A specialised training in orthopaedics focusing on hip and spine surgery has provided health practitioners an opportunity to strengthen and upskill knowledge in theory and practise.

This training was facilitated by the Pacific Islands Orthopaedic Association (PIOA) in collaboration with the Pacific Community (SPC) with funding support from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and ROC Taiwan.

Doctors from 5 Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) – Cook Islands, East Timor, Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea were part of this 2-week training that took place in September.

Dr Clay Siosi from Solomon Islands said this training has broadened his understanding and management of spine pathologies or problems that he sees in his home country. “The learnings have provided me with a much more focused approach in identifying and managing my patients”.

Dr Deacon Teapa from Cook Islands said this course provided him with the opportunity to reinforce knowledge and past experiences.

“I found the 2 weeks training fulfilling and enriching to my personal and professional development. This course has also provided me with operative skillsets, and we have learned from the best orthopaedic surgeons in Australasia.”

PIOA Deputy Director and facilitator for this training Dr. Desmond Soares said they provide training in the management of common orthopaedic conditions in the Pacific. “This allows doctors to remain in their home countries for more of the year. “Orthopaedic patients make up almost half of the surgical case in the Pacific and we hope to develop this training the same way as general surgery. PIOA is working on developing a standard list of orthopaedic equipment to assist PICTs in providing quality services.”

SPC continues to work in the region to support these trainings as capacity development within the health sector contributes towards strengthening existing health services and for improved diagnosis of patients.

Dr Berlin Kafoa, Director for the Public Health Division said, “Provision of trainings that enhance the capacity of health workers to provide the next standard of care to Pacific people is a core function of SPC”

We identify knowledge and skills gaps that required and thanks to DFAT Australia we are able support PICTs to gain the required Orthopaedic knowledge and skills through a cost effective, collaborative regional approach”