Vanuatu establishes first ever bronchoscopy service
Northern Provincial Hospital staff including Superintendent Dr Andy Ilo and Nursing Supervisor Mrs Tousei Lesteour receiving the bronchoscope from ACU staff, Mr Ashton Kline (Project Lead and Academic Leader of STISE), Dr Jane Morrow and Mrs Jayne Thompson (Karl Storz Endoscopy) along with ACU students who took part in the 2017 STISE activity.
The first ever bronchoscopy service in Vanuatu has been established through a long standing partnership between Australian Catholic University and Northern Provincial Hospital (NPH) in Santo, Vanuatu.
A bronchoscope is a specialised camera and light source that is able to be inserted through the nose or mouth of a patient to allow examination of both the upper and lower airway of patients. This equipment allows for the dislodgment and removal of foreign objects which are causing airway obstruction. It also allows for the diagnosis of airways related diseases.
The bronchoscope is the first of its kind in Vanuatu and will now be part of the specialist services offered at NPH.
In June 2016, NPH appealed to staff and students who took part in the STISE activity to assist with the purchase of equipment and the establishment of a bronchoscopy service for the people of Vanuatu following a number of deaths as the direct result of not having access to this vital service.
A bronchoscopy service currently does not exist in Vanuatu and in the past, the equipment had to be brought into the country by visiting teams to be used on ni-Vanuatu patients.“We are so privileged to have this partnership with ACU and we are grateful for such an expensive piece of equipment that will save lives and assist our patients to diagnose and treat nose, throat and lung conditions,” said Dr Andy Ilo at the official handover ceremony which took place on 5th July 2017 .
ACU Midwifery and Nursing students, both past and present, fundraised for the purchase of the equipment over the last five years and the current president of the Midwifery Students Society (MidSoc), Ms Maree De Pellegrin said “we heard an appeal from the Head Nurse in Children’s Ward, to purchase a bronchoscope for the purposes of diagnosing and treating airway and lung problems in children”.
ACU Lecturer in Nursing, Mr Ashton Kline who lead the project over the course of a year said that it was a great pleasure to see all of the hard work come to fruition.
Ashton approached Karl Storz endoscopy in July 2016 and was taken back by the generosity of the company, contributing half of the total cost towards the project. Ashton acknowledges that "without the support and generosity of Karl Storz Endoscopy, the success of this project would not have been possible".
"The focus of this project has been to establish a sustainable bronchoscopy service in Vanuatu working with the people to empower them to run a successful specialist service. Training was provided by Mrs Jayne Thompson who attended the hospital with us on behalf of Karl Storz Endoscopy, and she will visit the hospital on an annual basis to provide competency assessment and equipment maintenance," Ashton said.
The project will have a significant impact on the health outcomes of both children and adults alike, now able to access the service on-site without relying on overseas aid to provide the equipment which in emergency situations is not always possible and often results in death.