Solomon Airlines has added its support to the work of the Australian John James Foundation paediatric specialist surgical team, who arrived in Honiara on Tuesday.
The highly regarded volunteer surgical team, who are based in Canberra, Australia, will work with the National Referral Hospital to perform surgery on children with complex urinary and gastro-intestinal medical issues as well as general surgical problems.
Arriving in Honiara on Flight IE701 today were surgeons Professor David Croaker and Dr Celine
Hamid, Anesthetists Dr James French and Dr Dave Rawson, and Nurses Lisa Hazell and Elizabeth Hearn. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the JJF paediatric surgical team travelled to Solomon Islands twice a year.
“When we heard of the surgical team’s plan to return again to continue their work assisting the medical needs of children in the Solomon Islands, we were only too pleased to assist,” said Solomon Airlines CEO Gus Kraus.
“As well as bringing their leading medical expertise, they also bring their own equipment and substantial surgical supplies so as not to deplete local reserves,” he said.
“We were pleased to assist them and fly their equipment and supplies from Australia,” he added.
Paediatric surgery teams from the Canberra Hospital first started visiting Honiara in 2015 staying between 10 and 14 days, and performing up to 30 operations during each visit.
“In the Solomon Islands, from our very first visits, we have had a relationship with the surgeons Dr Rooney Jagilley at the National Referral Hospital in Honiara, and with Dr Douglas Pikacha, also at the NRH until his retirement a few years ago,” said Adjunct Professor David Croaker, leader of the team.
“We also very much appreciate the support of the anaesthetic department at the National Referral Hospital, Dr Kaeni Agiomea and his colleagues, as well as the hospital staff in general.
“The cases we assist are mainly significant paediatric surgical reconstructive cases, where care has been safely carried on until a specialist visit can be made,” Professor Croaker said.
“Benign tumours and various sorts of malformations of the bowels, are common examples.
“In Australia we also support the Rotary Oceania Medical Aid for Children ROMAC program of Rotary International. This program brings children from Oceania to Australia for medical treatment not available at home.
“Our visits to the Solomon Islands reduce some of the pressure on this program, and also allow us to follow-up some of our previous patients.
“We’ve enjoyed working with our Solomon Islands colleagues, and indeed we have enjoyed our visits overall and look forward to many years more collaboration. We view this as a very valuable collaboration,” he added.