11 Sep 2019

Gut health improving in Pacific as doctors' network grows

9:19 am on 11 September 2019
Dr Chris Hair (left)

Dr Chris Hair (left) Photo: Twitter/ @Dr_chrishair

An Australian medical specialist said free consultation and education for Pacific doctors through a network of instant messaging and telemedicine is saving lives.

The director of the Australia and New Zealand Gastroenterology International Training Association said the group works with Fiji's medical school to teach endoscopy skills.

Chris Hair said pro bono training helps physicians diagnose and treat patients with digestive illness and liver disease.

Dr Hair said surgeons can get guidance with chronic problems like cancer and hepatitis as well as potentially lethal acute situations.

"Problems commonly are ulcer disease of the stomach. Problems with swallowing foreign objects such as fish bones and increasingly little button batteries and coins that children often swallow ... and bleeding issues from the gut," he said.

"So, sort of the emergency things, the availability of endoscopy means that those conditions can be diagnosed and in many of the places those emergency conditions can be treated.

Dr Hair said many patients are now surviving after receiving prompt care from doctors who are more skilled and supported.