NPH team to Vanuatu

6. APR 2017 Obstetrics & Gynae,  9th – 13th April 2018            
Suggested itinerary Name Specialty Dates Origin Destination Rego Paid Rego Approved Hotel Hotel deposit paid
details Dr Andy Ilo Medical Superintendent 9-14th April 2018 NPH NPH/Vanuatu N/A N/A N/A N/A
 details  Dr Thomas Sala Vurobaravu  Acting HoD/Gynaecologist 9-14th April 2018  NPH NPH, Vanuatu  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A
 details  Dr Kevin Basili  Locum Gynaecologist  9-14th April 2018  NPH NPH, Vanuatu  N/A N/A  N/A  N/A
details a/Prof Norman Blumenthal Gynaecologist  9-14th April 2018 Notre Dame University & Blacktown Hospital NPH, Vanuatu Not Yet Not Yet Deco Lodge No
details Dr Geoff Symonds Anaesthetic 9-14th April 2018 Blacktown Hospital NPH, Vanuatu Not Yet Not Yet Deco Lodge No
details Petrina Whiley Anaesthetic Nurse 9-14th April 2018 Westmead Private NPH, Vanuatua N/A  N/A  Deco Lodge  No
details Matthew Verheyden  Medical Student 9-14 April 2018  Notre Dame University NPH, Vanuatu N/A  N/A  Deco Lodge  No
details Tom O’Donnell  Medical Student  9-14 April 2018  Notre Dame University NPH, Vanuatu N/A  N/A  Deco Lodge  No
details Charlotte Ferrier Medical Student  9-14th April 2018 Notre Dame University NPH, Vanuatu N/A  N/A  Deco Lodge  No
details Katie Mazes Medical Student 9-14th April 2018 Notre Dame University NPH, Vanuatu N/A N/A Deco Stop Lodge No
details Dr Mary Tuke Locum Anaesthetist  9-14th April 2018 NPH  NPH, Vanuatu  N/A  N/A  N/A N/A
This one week gynae trip was led by gynaecologist a/Prof Normal Blumenthal from Notre Dame University to Northern Provincial Hospital (NPH) and was one week in duration from 9th – 14th April 2018. It was the second DAISI visit to NPH, and the first involving surgery.
Temporary medical registration was approved by the Vanuatu Ministry of Health for specialists a/Prof Blumenthal and Dr Symonds on 18th Mar 2018, much to the thanks and assistance of Dr Willie Tokon (Director of Hospital Curative Services).
Coordination of this project was facilited by Dr Basil Leodoro (General & Paediatric Surgeon), and the NPH administrative team Dr Andy Ilo (medical director), Ms Gerollyn Tagaro (General Service Manager), & Ms Tousie Lesteour (Head Nursing Services Manager).
Seven DAISI volunteers departed Sydney (SYD) 10:55am Monday 9th April, arriving in Espiritu Santo SON 4:45pm; and checked into Deco-Stop lodge chosen for its close proximity to the hospital being right next door. The hotel is run by Australian expats Kim and Ben Healy (E:, and reports from all DAISI members were glowing.
The DAISI team presented to Medical Superintendent’s (Dr Andy Ilo) office 8am for introductions as scheduled and had a very brief introduction with Dr Ilo before heading off to do screening of patients which occurred from 8:10am -11am Tue 10th April. The other members of the administrative team were not present. The nurses organised the screening of patients very well, with all patients ready, and on time. The nursing organisation and enthusiasm was very impressive.
Dr Thomas Sala (acting Head of Department of Gynaecology) with the help of Dr Kevin Basili (Locum Gynaecologist from Solomon Islands), organised nine gynae operative cases to present for screening. These included a number of uterine/vaginal prolapse operations, and uterine fibroids for myomectomy and total abdominal hysterectomy. Unfortunately the only surgeon at the hospital Dr Basil Leodoro, had been unexpectedly seconded to visit a local island where there was a medical evacuation due to volcanic ash. This was only realised after the DAISI team arrived. Also the Gynae HoD Dr Thomas Sala was unwell all week and was unable to attend any surgery. However locum anaesthetist and Gynaecologist Dr Mary Tuke and Dr Kevin Baili were full of enthusiasm attending all cases, eager to learn and participate. Unfortunatley, two of the largest cases, which were quite complex, and would almost certainly involved bowel resection had to be cancelled last minute due to the lack of surgical back up. These were referred back to Port Villa.
Surgery occurred from 12pm – 5pm.Surgery all day Wed 11th- April 2018. The operating theature was well stocked, and organised, and ran very efficiently due to the excellent nurse organisation. Due to misunderstanding about when the head surgeon would be returning, Thursday 12th April’s surgery had to be cancelled last minute, and ended up being a day of relaxation, with a trip to Blue Hole for swimming. Friday 13th April, was a final ward round, and farewell to staff, with a DAISI dinner invite that evening attended by Dr Kevin Basili and Dr Mary Tuke. It was a great evening with a small but quality attendance and farewell dinner.
The Friday debrief and teaching session at NPH did not occur, however all volunteers were informally debriefed by a/Prof Norman Blumenthal on their return visit, and completed the DAISI online feedback form.
The DAISI team departed Espiritu Santo (SON) 9am Sat 14th April, arriving Sydney SYD 6:15pm.Feedback from DAISI suggests that most volunteers would be prepared to return to NPH again on a future trip. The lack of prepared cases and general surgical back up were identified as issues, but other than this, reasonable progress was made, and the friendliness and helpfulness of the nursing staff amazing!




Left to right: Dr Thomas Sala (gynaecologist), a/Prof Norman Blumenthal (gynaecologist), Katie Mazes & Matthew Verheyden (medical students), gynae intern? (name?) Dr Mary Tuke (anaesthetist), Gerollyn Tagaro (general service manager), Dr Geoff Symonds (anaesthetist), Tom O’Donnell & Charlotte Ferrier (medical students), Dr Kevin Basili (gynaecologist).

the heavies

Left to right: Dr Thomas Sala, Dr Geoff Symonds, Dr Kevin Basili & a/Prof Norman Blumenthal.


Dr Kevin Basili, Tom O’Donnell (medical student), and a/Prof Norman Blumenthal doing myomectomy.


The Gynae Team at the end of day two: Gerollyn Tagaro (general service manager), Dr Mary Tuke (anaesthetist), Dr Geoff Symonds (anaesthetist), Katie Mazes & Matthew Verheyden(medical students), a/Prof Norman Blumenthal (standing)  & Kevin Bisili (sitting) gynaecologist’s, Charlotte Ferrier (medical student), vanuatu nurse (name?), Tom O’Donnell (medical student), x 3 vanuatu nurses (names?). Front Row: Petrina Whiley (anaesthetic nurse) and Vanuatu nurse (name?)

Petrina with Dr Mary Tuke & Dr Geoff Symonds

Anaesthetic nurse Petrina Whiley with anaesthetists Dr Mary Tuke and Dr Geoff Symonds.





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