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Unfortunately due to COVID-19 pandemic, and lock-down measures, it has been announced today to all DAISI members, and our partnering colleagues in the South Pacific, that all trips for 2020 have been cancelled.

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Prof Peter Hewett, the Solomon Islands Program Officer stated today ” It is most unfortunate, but I  think this was inevitable and the best decision”, an opinion echoed by Dr Carina Chow & Prof Christophe Berney both surgeons heavily involved in DAISI trips planned for Papua New Guinea later this year, with Dr Chow stating “I think this was a smart move in this crazy time”.

DAISI partner surgeons Dr Elvis Japhlet & Dr Kennedy James from Sopas Hospital and Alotau Hospital in Papua New Guinea, and Dr Rooney Jagilly from National Referral Hospital in the Solomon Islands today shared their agreement that such a move was “in the best interest of the public good”.

“Our heart goes out to these vulnerable nations, with no telling how they will cope with the pandemic, but at the moment our presence there would be more a hindrance than a help” advised Dr Danny Kozman, Co-Vice Chair for DAISI.  “Special thanks also goes to those unsung heroes in the South Pacific who are integral to the planning and organisation of DAISI trips.  Not to forget also those from the PNG and Solomon Island’s Medical Board including Ms Francina Ega and Ms Pou Haro responsible for processing the over 70 applications for temporary medical registration, which unfortunately will now not be used for 2020”.

All volunteers who require help with organising refunds for their flight and accommodation should contact staff@daisi.com.au  An update to all those involved will be issued towards the end of the year, to allow volunteers and patients who missed out this year to be included next year.

 

Author: Dr Gary McKay is the current Secretary of DAISI, and a colorectal surgeon from Sydney who along with Surgeon Dr Santee Santhanam was able to conduct the only DAISI trip to the South Pacific this year prior to the outbreak of COVID-19.