In partnership with the Gastroenterological Society of Australia (GESA), the WGO Training Center at the Fiji School of Medicine (FSM) was officially inaugurated on October 26, 2008. The first program for specialist training in Gastroenterology in the region was developed for integration into the FSM’s postgraduate training in medicine.
FSM is one of only three institutions in Fiji and the Pacific Island nations to offer local medical training in the region. With such limited training available and a regional population totaling approximately 1.7 million people, the ratio of doctors per 1,000 population is at a mere 0.1 - 0.4. The shortage of doctors in nearby countries, such as Australia and New Zealand, has contributed to this “brain drain”, as local doctors seek employment abroad. From 1987 to 2002, 510 doctors left the government health service in Fiji, while during the same period, only 284 graduated from the Fiji School of Medicine.
Until recently, specialist training in the South Pacific was unavailable and has often been undertaken abroad, making it difficult for doctors who have become accustomed to life in their new environment to return home again once their training has been completed. Thus, the lack of local specialist training has been conducive to the “brain drain” being witnessed in the region. However, local postgraduate programs have been shown to help combat this trend in that doctors-in-training work for most of the time in their home country while learning to diagnose and treat disease with the resources available, thereby making them less likely to leave their home country once specialist qualification has been achieved.
The current program has been created to address the need for local specialist training in Gastroenterology in the South Pacific, which had previously been absent in the region. The Gastroenterological Society of Australia’s Fiji Training Team (GESAFiTT) members contribute to training in endoscopy, hepatology, and luminal gastroenterology. To further address the need for specialist training in the region, programs in GI surgery and pediatric gastroenterology are also in development.
The World Gastroenterology Organisation (WGO) will work with the Australia & New Zealand Gastroenterology International Training Program (ANGZITA) to hold a special "mini" Train the Trainers workshop in connection with the Suva Training Center's annual Training Program in August 2016. This special "mini TTT" will feature modules on Adult Education, Critical Appraisal, and Trial Design.
The Suva Training Center is located in the Fiji School of Medicine. A endoscopy unit was established in August 2009.
The WGO would like to give special thanks to Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology Trust, Orphan Australia, Schering Plough, and Fujinon North America, and AstraZeneca for their support and sponsorship of the WGO Suva Training Center.