The Pasifika Medical Association (PMA) recently deployed a Paediatric Surgical Team of specialists to Vaiola Hospital in Nuku’alofa, Tonga, providing specialist surgical support under the New Zealand Medical Treatment Scheme (NZMTS), funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The visiting medical team (VMT) were based at the hospital for a week, with PMA President, Dr Kiki Maoate ONZM, leading the team in his capacity as a Specialist Paediatric Surgeon and Urologist.
The recent deployment maintains PMA’s commitment through the NZMTS programme to provide specialist services and opportunities to local medical staff to improve their skills, knowledge, and services.
Dr Maoate speaks on the purpose and the potential of the work that is carried out by PMA and NZMTS.
“The basis for what we do here is because of our relationships. All of us have a view that we are in the position to help our people and in this particular area it is through health.
“The impact of what we do is actually from the NZMTS point of view; the impact we can have is to lift the relationship up, better it more and then listen to what it is the countries, our people and our colleagues are asking us to help them with.”
CEO for Tonga’s Ministry of Health, Dr Reynold ‘Ofanoa, relays acknowledgements for the collaborative work carried out by NZMTS in strengthening Tonga’s health care provisions.
“We are very much grateful for the close collaboration with PMA during the years and that they fully understand the context here in Tonga and what our needs are. It is very heartwarming that they receive funding from MFAT to assist us.
“It is a great opportunity for patients to be able to access specialized treatment here in Tonga and to be given the chance for this scheme to provide positive health outcomes in their individual lives.”
PMA CEO, Debbie Sorensen, expresses the importance of NZMTS as a means of improving the quality of life for Pacific peoples.
“There is an overall goal that people in the Pacific countries will enjoy a standard of health that will enable them to live longer and without health burdens. Where those burdens can be lifted or eased is one of the main goals of the work that we carry out through the scheme.
“We are honoured to work in collaboration with partners to provide these opportunities, and look forward to continuing this work under the shared objective of improving the quality of life for Pacific people in Pacific countries.”
The NZMTS, made possible through MFAT, has been in operation in the Pacific for over thirty years, providing life-saving opportunities throughout the Pacific through its Overseas Referral Scheme, Visiting Medical Teams and initiatives in Strengthening In-country Capacity.