Together, Australian and ni-Vanuatu plastic and reconstructive surgeons improve lives

Between 28 August and 2 September, Australian and Ni-Vanuatu surgeons performed 20 operations (predominantly cleft lip reconstructions) and held a further 32 consultations in Port Vila.

Radio Vanuatu reports Australian plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Ian Holten, and local surgeon, Samuel Kemuel, with support from the staff at Vila Central Hospital, performed the surgeries as part of the Australia Non-Government Organisation Cooperation Program (ANCP) which is managed by Interplast.

Funded by the Australian Government, the program utilises the skills and knowledge of visiting Australian specialists to develop the skills of local surgeons and surgical trainees in both complex and basic operations.

“These visits give local doctors and surgeons the ability to benefit from Australian expertise, while giving Australian specialists an appreciation of the environment in which Vanuatu’s doctors operate. They also provide the opportunity to administer treatments and surgeries that wouldn’t otherwise be available in Vanuatu,” said the Australian High Commissioner, Jeremy Bruer.

The visits are followed by year-round distance mentoring from the visiting surgeons giving local surgeons the opportunity to confer with their Australian colleagues on difficult cases.

“I thank the Australian Government for providing these opportunities for local doctors and surgeons to develop their skills, and I thank the Australian specialists for sharing their knowledge and expertise with staff members at the Vila Central Hospital”, said Dr Kemuel.

This was the 29th interplast visit to Vanuatu since 1985. To date, 1366 consultations and 863 life-changing procedures have been successfully conducted in Vanuatu.



Photo: From left to Right, Theatre Nurse Lina, Australian High Commission’s Olive Taurakoto, Dr Ian Holten, Dr Samuel Kemuel and Dr Vereniki Raiwalui