Abstract Number: 34

Improving skin health in the South Pacific – meeting the need

M.A. Tuicakau, M.J. Whitfeld

Meeting: 2017 Dermcoll

Session Information

Date: -

Session Title: Global Dermatology Symposium

Session Time: -

Skin health in the South Pacific Islands has always been regarded as a low priority amongst the Health Providers in these island countries compared to other health issues such as Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and Infectious Diseases (Malaria, TB, Dengue, Typhoid, Zika etc).

Recent research into scabies, the high prevalence of Rheumatic Heart Diseases and renal Impairment amongst the children and adolescents in the Pacific populations, has highlighted the need for building capacity on dermatological knowledge, skills amongst health providers. Albinism in Fiji, other health issues including diabetic ulcers, leprosy elsewhere in the Pacific have also raised the dermatology profile.

In 2016 a team of Dermatology advocates began to explore feasible ways of strengthening Dermatology Services in this region. A steering Committee including Fijians, Dr Tuicakau, Dr Cikamatana, Dr Singh, a Fiji National University representative and Australians Dr Whitfeld, Mr Jackson, Mrs Jackson, Sr Maguire, have agreed to establish a Pacific Dermatology Training Centre.

The Pacific Dermatology Training Centre will work in partnership with Tamavua Twomey Hospital and Fiji National University to develop post graduate training programmes for both medical practitoners and nurses reflecting the long standing Australian and Fijian Partnership in Health and particularly in skin disease

The Training Facility will be based in Suva at the PJ Twomey Specialist Hospital, which was once the Leprosy Center and is now the

Dermatology Center for Fiji. The Center will absorb trainees from the region and plan to open doors by 2018.