top of page

Orthopaedic relief required

26th September 2019

We have received a request from Labasa (Fiji) to provide temporary orthopaedic relief. There is a need to relieve a young orthopaedic surgeon who is currently the only surgeon providing orthopaedic care in Labasa. If anyone is interested in 2 weeks (or longer) volunteer work in Labasa please email Vaughan directly.

Vaughan Poutawera
Orthopacifix Charitable Trust

Stryker Orthopacifix travelling award report

In August 2019 I had the honour of travelling to Papua New Guinea (PNG) with members of the Orthopacifix Charitable Trust to teach at the Foot and Ankle module of the Pacific Island Orthopaedic Association (PIOA) training programme. I would like to thank Stryker for providing the Stryker Orthopacifix Travelling Award.


After taking off from Brisbane and a brief transit at Port Moresby, we landed at Mt Hagen where we were warmly greeted by the local driver and Mr Des Soares who is the director of the PIOA training programme. The 2 hour bus ride from Mt Hagen to our final destination Kundiawa seemed short lived as we were entertained by the local scenery and the lively driving in attempt to avoid the pot holes on the road. It would be fair to say that all of us had a free chiropractic adjustment towards the end of the bus trip.


The programme was held at Kundiawa hospital. This impressive tertiary hospital has about 200 beds, couple of operating theatres, and advance imaging modalities including both CT and a MRI scanner.

The teaching programme and time table were well structured and comprehensive. Each day started with a morning ward round led by the PIOA trainees. The shear volume of spinal TB was just astounding and how they get the patients to comply with lying prone in skin traction for 2-3 months pre-operatively completely baffled me! The impressive results of their treatment of spinal TB was presented at last years NZOA meeting in Rotorua.

The PIOA trainees were all enthusiastic and eager to learn. I was impressed with their level of knowledge during the interactive teaching sessions and the dexterity shown at the practical stations.

During the week we also had the final year trainees sit the PIOA exit exam and i would like to congratulate Shaun Mauiliu, Alex Munamua, James Tewa’ani, and Mark Rokobuli again on successfully passing the exam.


Each day we were treated to a decadent array of local produce and delicious food. And who knew PNG has such good coffee?!?!? We all charged through the day caffeinated with several cups of the local finest freshly ground coffee. We were humbled to have been gifted several bags of PNG coffee to take back to NZ with us as souvenirs.


Despite all the negativities i have heard about PNG prior to the trip, i genuinely found the locals very friendly and hospitable. We were welcomed everywhere we went during our trips to the township and also the countryside towards Mt Wilhelm. Whilst i wouldn’t recommend travelling alone we generally felt pretty safe and did not encounter any harassment.


PNG was a rewarding experience i will never forget. I would like to thank Stryker and Orthopacifix again for giving me this unbelievable opportunity and the PIOA and local faculty for their hospitality.




Tim Chuang (Inaugural Stryker travelling award recipient)

bottom of page