FORMER LOCAL SURGEON RETURNS TO PROVIDE VOLUNTARY SERVICES

Consultant paediatric and general surgeon Dr Jitoko Cama of Waikato Hospital in New Zealand is currently in Fiji to briefly provide voluntary services to patients who need urgent surgeries and to assist his general surgical colleagues at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital (CWMH) and at the Fiji National University (FNU).

Dr Cama, a local surgeon who joined the Paediatric Surgical Department at Waikato Hospital around 7 years ago, is no stranger as he has on numerous occasions visited Fiji to perform surgeries mostly on patients with complex paediatric problems. He has been overwhelmed with the number of complex paediatric cases and adult general surgical cases such as diabetic foot sepsis, diabetic carbuncles, advanced breast cancers, liver and appendix abscess.

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When asked about his reasons to provide voluntary services in Fiji, Dr Cama responded that he wanted to give back something to the country where he once resided.

“I am currently on sabbatical leave from Waikato Hospital which was initially intended to be used on furthering my professional expertise in other advanced Paediatric Surgical Units across Australia and New Zealand. The reason why I came here was in response to a request from the Dean of the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Science at FNU-Dr William May and Professor of Surgery Mr Eddie McCaig, to come home and assist the surgical training department in teaching the post-graduate trainees and to also help in the surgical department. So, I thought it would be good to come and give something back to my country,” Dr Cama said.

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He further highlighted that people here have very complex surgical problems for the simple reason that they present very late to health authorities for medical intervention and he suggested that more awareness is needed so that patients present themselves to Health facilities much earlier to avoid the complexities.

In addition to conducting surgeries, Dr Cama has also been assisting in training the local medical students and the post graduate surgical trainees who are completing their studies and was pleased to see the capabilities of the students.

“The presentations that I have seen from the medical students are good. Presentations from the postgraduate surgical trainees are comparable to or better than some of the advanced paediatric surgical trainees and registrars that I teach in Hamilton. These postgraduate surgical trainees are not only hard working, but are very knowledgeable and confident as they can stand up and speak for 5-10 minutes on a surgical topic”, he added.

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The Ministry of Health acknowledges such initiatives from highly reputable medical specialists who bring much needed benefits to our people and welcomes good Samaritans for more visits in future.