4123 ENT cases in Fiji last year

FIJI recorded 4213 ear, nose and throat (ENT) cases last year, of which 276 were severe cases which required surgery.

This was according to ENT specialist Dr Chunghyeon Oh.

He made the statement while addressing ENT and audiology experts from six Pacific Island countries and partners from Australia and New Zealand during the third Pacific Ear, Nose, Throat and Audiology Group (PENTAG) meeting in Nadi this week.

Dr Chunghyeon said the numbers, while significant, were expected to be much higher than reported because there were no ENT clinics in the densely populated areas of the Western and Northern divisions.

Dr Sione Pifeleti, a general surgeon in Samoa, said despite limited resources in his ENT clinic, he was able to see 2225 cases, of which 42.9 per cent were ear infections.

“This meeting is a great platform for member countries and partners to discuss the ENT and A issues, challenges and possible solutions in the region,” said Dr Belin Kafoa from the clinical services program (CSP) at the Public Health Division.

“A regional PENTAG survey was discussed at the meeting and will be conducted later this year to guide future ENT and A decisions and resource allocation.”

The two-day meeting highlighted the alarming number of ENT cases, the dire need for basic ENT and A equipment and the lack of ENT and A workforce to treat people in the participating countries.

PENTAG came about in November 2015, at the request of PICs with assistance from Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

The Pacific Community facilitated the PENTAG meeting in partnership with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS), Pacific Islands program (PIP), the Audiology and Global Health Program at the University of Auckland and interested New Zealand-based ENT surgeons and audiologists, with ENT doctors and nurses from Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu.

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