NZ group to help improve Pacific surgery access
New Zealand-based group of medical surgeons aims to made surgery more accessible and safe in the Pacific region.
A research collective at Auckland University, the Global Surgery Group, wants to help bring improvements in surgical care in Pacific Island countries.
It says there is considerable scope in the Pacific to overcome the inadequacies that exist in terms of safe and affordable surgery.
A member of the group, Will Perry, told Don Wiseman Global Surgery Group aims to engage with stake-holders in the Pacific and build a long term sustainable relationship.
And he says one of the first things they need to know are the statistics on who is missing out in the Pacific and why.
WILL PERRY: I think one of the things we have struggled with from very early on is a lack of Data so look a lot of focus has been on HIV, Malaria, TB and these groups are invested in those diseases understand the data they have figures to work from. Investors are very keen therefore to put money towards those groups that are doing work in that area but with surgery we simply haven't been collecting that data we've I guess not really understood the true depth of the problem in surgery. So some of the figures have started to come through and a lot of that has been brought forward by the lancer commission on global surgery. So we now know that nearly 17 million lives are lost every year from conditions needing surgical care which is huge and there is certainly an unmet need world wide about 30 percent of all deaths are from a surgically attributable disease. In the Pacific itself we certainly have not been measuring that there is a lot of anecdotal evidence and one of the reasons that our group got together was that we were approached by Dr Basil from Vanuatu who said we need to look at this more we need to get a better understanding about what is going on so we know then where for to basically put in our efforts going forward.
DON WISEMAN: Groups like yours you have been instrumental in sending volunteer teams over for a limited period and I think those sorts of activities obviously have a very significant benefit or at least the local populations tell us they do. Are you thinking of a lot more of that sort of thing? Once you have got this data are you thinking of a lot more of those short-term visits?
WP: That is one area in which our group is trying to take quite a different approach so it is not about sending groups over to provide surgical services for a short amount of time our team so far has gone across to collect some baseline data with local stake holders. Very much trying to engage in this part of the process to figure out indeed where we need to further invest time and research and money and support in these island nations. So long term it is about developing infrastructure there and sustainability particularly from a research perspective. So one of the things that came of our early work in Vanuatu was that they wanted to look into two things one was what are the barriers to access to surgical care in Vanuatu. And the second thing is how can we instil critical thinking amongst our young doctors how can we instil are research culture so that we can take forward some of this research ourselves find our own solutions and really build on which to take forward surgery in Vanuatu. So from that perspective we are doing things differently this isn't about short term missions this isn't about delivering for a finite period of time, This is about hopefully a very long term sustainable relationship with these groups such as the ministry of health in Vanuatu.
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