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Flying doctors complete mercy mission

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Flying Doctors of America (FDOA) medical team have returned to the United States yesterday after completing a very successful two-week medical mercy mission to the Solomon Islands.

Led by Founder/President, Dr. Allan Gathercoal and his wife Liz Marcela, the team of medical doctors, dentists and other specialists have been in Solomon Islands since July 25 when the main team arrived in Honiara.

An advanced team arrived in the country on July 18.

A NCRA Government spokesman, Alfred Sasako said due to lack of medical equipment at Atoifi Hospital, the initial destination for the visit, the team of 17 had to split into two groups with three surgeons working from the National Referral Hospital in Honiara.

The three ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) specialists performed more than 20 major surgeries.

The rest of the team traveled to Atoifi Hospital in East Kwaio on Wednesday last week and returned to Honiara last Wednesday.

Mr Sasako said the team that worked out of Atoifi Hospital also conducted outreach programs to Nafinua Health Centre in the north and Sinarangu and Oloburi in the south.

During their time there, some 1,400 medical cases were attended to as well as up to an estimated 1, 000 dental cases.

Four local doctors including dentists from the National Referral Hospital accompanied the team.

Mr Sasako said the Flying Doctors of America were overwhelmed by what they saw but they did great in attending to so many cases in such a short time.

“As someone who’s been very much part of the arrangement to bring the medical team from the United States to Solomon Islands, I am particularly proud that so many people had an opportunity to see a doctor right at their doorstep.

“On behalf of the people of East Malaita, including those who came from as far away as East Are Are and East Fataleka, I would like to record my appreciation to the Solomon Islands Government and as well as others who helped make the visit possible.

“In particular, I would like to thank the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Solomon Airlines, the Heritage Park Hotel as well as the staff of Atoifi Adventist Hospital.

“They have done more than their call of duty,” he said.

Mr Sasako also thanked the Flying Doctors of America under Dr. Gathercoal’s excellent leadership as well as his wife, Liz Marcela who has done a great job in coordinating arrangements with local staff, particularly at Atoifi Hospital.

“I would like to thank every member of the visiting Team for their contribution to the success of the mission. Except for the people’s demand to see more of such visits in the future, I have heard no complaints whatsoever,” Alfred said.