Visiting paediatric team says national service getting better


The members of the PIP team (Professor Spencer Beasley, paediatric surgeon, Dr Des O’Regan, paediatric anaesthetist, and Trudy Brown, senior paediatric nurse) felt that they were all made very welcome in Vanuatu, and appreciated the help and support given by local staff.

Spencer Beasley, who has visited Vanuatu each year for about 8 years, commented how much things had changed for the better during the time he has been involved.

The quality of the paediatric services that are now provided to the children of Vanuatu gets better every year, and the commitment of staff at Vila Central Hospital (VCH) and Northern Provincial Hospital (NPH) has been an important part in achieving these improvements.

Professor Beasley commended the staff of both hospitals for their enthusiasm and for the way they worked so well with the visiting team to further improve the quality of care that can be provided for their patients.

“Our visits put a lot of extra strain on the operating theatres and wards, and presented quite a few additional challenges, but throughout the week the nursing and medical staff were supportive and uncomplaining, and a credit to their hospital,” Professor Beasley said.

A major focus of the PIP visits has been to increase local capability, and the rewards of this are showing.

Surgeon Basil Leodoro is highly regarded by the visiting team, and a second surgeon, Ricky Mera, is also increasing his paediatric surgical skills.

On earlier visits, the local surgeons were mostly the assistants in the operations, whereas now they are the primary surgeons, with Professor Beasley assisting them!

The increased support from the paediatricians was also a key factor that will benefit the children of Vanuatu.

Most of the operations that were done were complex.

Many of the families have had to wait a long time for their children to receive their surgery, often major surgery, and then be with them during their post-operative recovery. “It is not easy for them, but when you see the children recovering and smiling again, it makes it all worthwhile.”

Professor Beasley believes that the increasing collaboration between VCH and NPH is a crucial step in developing a service that can improve access to quality care for all children in Vanuatu.

He was particularly pleased that staff from Santo, came to Port Vila and were actively involved throughout the week.

“It is only by us all working together that we can get the sort of results we want. I am very optimistic about the future,” he added.

When the Daily Post visited the Children’s Ward, the children and babies who had gone through the paediatric operation, were recovering well.

Their parents smiled and spoke highly of the professionalism of the visiting team and the local surgeons and nurses.

One parent that came with his son all the way from Navele in Big Bay Santo said he knew his son would be healed by the visiting specialist and Doctors only if they could reached Vila and despite waiting long for the arrival of the Specialists from New Zealand, he knew his son would be back to normal, once they operated on him, which turned out to be so.

The visit by the New Zealand Team was funded by the Australian Government under the partnership arrangements between the two countries in assisting Vanuatu children’s lives.