About 200 Fijians, some of them children from different parts of the country have had life‑saving and life‑changing surgeries’ in the last few weeks thanks to a group of dedicated volunteer doctors, dentists, nurses, and humanitarians from around the world.
They are here through the Loloma Foundation, a California‑based non‑profit corporation established in 2001.
Its mission is to provide sustainable medical, dental and infrastructure support to rural communities in the South Pacific who would otherwise have no access to basic healthcare.
Loloma Foundation also support Fijian children in Taveuni in making murals and paintings to hang up in the hospital pic.twitter.com/1yilReSi75— Dr Waqainabete (@DrIfereimi) May 8, 2019
The volunteer doctors did ear, nose and throat surgeries as well as hand and general surgeries last week at the 30‑bed inpatient Taveuni Hospital.
About to meet with Loloma Foundation from USA, our Taveuni Hospital staff and District Officer on Health in Taveuni. pic.twitter.com/sdKwWEuCOy— Dr Waqainabete (@DrIfereimi) May 8, 2019
They will conduct more surgeries this week.
Loloma Foundation Project Coordinator, Linda Kwasny says they are very grateful to be able to bring these services to Fijians adding that it has been very rewarding for everyone involved.
Kwasny says the volunteers pay their own way to come to Fiji to provide these life‑changing services and probably seventy percent of them have returned for many years.
Wairiki Hall in Taveuni is large and today holds items brought from USA being sold to support Loloma Foundation work. pic.twitter.com/HY8rx4TdHq— Dr Waqainabete (@DrIfereimi) May 9, 2019
Kwasny adds its also a good cultural exchange for the highly qualified local staff they are attached with.
One of the children who benefitted is 1-year-old Geromeo Smith who had hand surgery.
Smith has syndactyly which is when your adjacent fingers are joined by a soft tissue.
The mother, Eleni Smith says the Loloma Foundation has changed the life of his youngest son.
In the last 15 years, the Loloma Foundation has shipped and distributed $US32M worth of medication and medical and dental supplies and equipment to Fiji and the Solomon Islands.
It has also organized and implemented 60 medical and dental missions in 150 Fijian and Solomon Island villages.
90,000 patients have been treated by volunteer physicians, 382 cataract surgeries and 520 general surgeries have been performed and 8,700 dental patients have been seen.