ORTHOPAEDIC doctors in the Pacific region were recently trained on how to conduct spinal surgery in Honiara.
This was piloted by the Pacific Islands Orthopaedic Association (PIOA) in training doctors from six Pacific Island countries at the National Referral Hospital.
Students come from Kiribati, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Fiji, Samoa, American Samoa, and Solomon Islands.
This is the fourth year of the training program and this module is the 11thheld in Honiara. Each module runs for two weeks.
The training is being led by Dr Ian Cheung, Dr Des Soares, and Dr John Tuffley, all from Brisbane.
It was understood that injury to the spine is a common occurrence in the Solomon Islands.
Patients that were affected can be left with lifelong deformity and paralysis.
The Director of Orthopaedics at the National Referral Hospital (NRH) Dr Patrick Houasia said that this training will be beneficial for the country
“Learning to manage these well can greatly reduce the long term costs for the individual and their family and also for the country,” Dr Houasia said.
Dr Des Soares, Director Training (PIOA), told the Solomon Star that the trainee doctors have also been learning how to manage degenerative spine conditions like arthritis.
“In the second week of the course, the students will focus on preventing infectious disease with Dr Nikki Townell and Dr Paul Chapman and learning how to use a new trauma database developed by Dr Martin Walliser.
“The database aims to create the first Pan Pacific trauma database standardised across seven countries (listed above plus Vanuatu).
“This will lead to a more scientific approach to understanding the causes of trauma.
“For example, this may help strengthen the government’s resolve to make wearing of seat belts compulsory.
“Or encourage the police to strictly enforce the blood alcohol limits by regular testing of drivers,” Dr Soares said.
Meanwhile, these simple measures can greatly reduce the road toll and injury among Solomon Islanders.
By RONALD TOITO’ONA