Postgraduate Anaesthesia training in the Pacific
The Pacific Anaesthetic Training Program (PATP) commenced at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva, Fiji in 1995. The PATP was the first postgraduate specialist training programme in the Pacific, and its establishment was the result of the efforts of several Pacific Island anaesthetists and a group of anaesthetists from the ASA who had been active in the Pacific for many years. Funding was provided by the Fiji Ministry of Health and AusAID.
The PATP initially offered a two year Diploma in Anaesthesia (DA). The course focused on the wide range of anaesthetic problems and resource issues that Pacific anaesthetists have to cope with in their own countries. The first group of trainees graduated at the end of 1996, and came from Fiji, Tonga and the Solomon Islands (pictured).
Postgraduate training in Internal Medicine, Paediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Surgery commenced in 1997. The programme is now run by the Fiji School of Medicine, supported by AusAID. All specialties, including Anaesthesia, now offer a one year Diploma, followed by a three year Masters in Medicine (MMed).
Dr Sereima Bale, from Fiji, has been head of the PATP since its inception. She has been assisted by a group of Australian, New Zealand and UK anaesthetists - Steve Kinnear was the first (1995-97), followed by Karl Alexander for a short period, then Bruce Lister ( 1998- 99 ) with help from Liz Pemberton. Then came Wayne Morriss (NZ) from 2000 – 2002. Nargis Ahmat (UK) held the position from 2003 to 2004. She was followed by another UK anaesthetist, Charlie Collins, from 2005 – 2006. The current overseas tutor is Adam Black, who took up the post in early 2007 and will be there for two years also. The ASA has remained closely involved with the programme, and helped fund the tutor position when AusAID salary funding finished in 2000. The position is now funded by the Fiji School of Medicine. The Overseas Tutor position is a special opportunity for an anaesthetist with enthusiasm and sense of adventure to make a real contribution. It is anticipated that in the near future, this position will be filled by a Pacific Islands Masters graduate.
The PATP has made a huge contribution to Anaesthesia in our region. By the end of 2006, over 30 anaesthetists, from all over the Pacific, had graduated with the DA. Almost every one of the 13 independent Pacific island nations now has a Diploma graduate from the program giving anaesthesia in their country. In addition, there have been five Masters graduates from the program.