10 Sep 2004

Fiji doctor appeals for help over shortage of surgeons

4:01 pm on 10 September 2004

A Fiji doctor working in New Zealand has called on his colleagues to help ease a critical shortage of medical specialists in Fiji.

Dr Jitoki Cama, a paediatric surgical registrar at Auckland's Star Ship hospital, says the shortage of skilled surgeons has been a problem for years but it has worsened recently.

Surgeons from the Australasian College of Surgeons, through their Pacific Islands Project, send teams of surgeons to various countries in the region each year to try and reduce the numbers on surgical waiting lists.

Dr Cama, at a conference this week, called on them to extend this project from the current two visits a year.

"And the visits should include going out to the other main centres, not only to Suva where they come to. So if there are more visits in a year, instead of getting people from the other islands [to come to Suva] we can actually send some of these consultants, say in paediatric surgery, to go out into the other main centres."