Pacific Island Health Care Providers launched the first of a series of distance learning sessions for Pacific Island providers on May 18th. The topic was gastroenterology, with a specific focus on biopsy for suspected colon cancers. The discussion was facilitated by Dr. Chris Hair, Gastroenterologist, from ANZGITA, Epworth Private Hospital and Deakin University, Geelong Australia.
The session was delivered by interactive video teleconference and organized by Dr. Payne Perman from Pohnpei. Participation was excellent with thirty-seven Pacific Island providers and students from Pohnpei, American Samoa, Ebeye, Majuro, Palau, American Samoa, Samoa, and Fiji. Dr. Hair started with a didactic on when to do a biopsy, and appropriate approaches including tools and techniques. He explained that the biopsy site matters and with proper protocols you can get significantly improved cancer diagnoses for better quality and timely patient care. He then presented several Pacific Island cases that clearly showed strategic biopsy points and different tumors. Several providers presented their own cases, some including challenges in terms of how to treat patients in limited resource situations. A participant even presented a case through a video recording of a difficult endoscopy completed just that morning. This generated a lot of discussion from the group.
After the session, the doctor reported having gone back to that difficult case and successfully completing the biopsy that afternoon – this illustrates the immediate positive impact of this educational session. Many future topics were suggested such as balloon dilation, diagnosis and management of Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor (GIST), and H.Pylori topics with predilection to GIST. Ongoing sessions are much anticipated and will be held on the third Friday of every month. Participation is open and welcomed.
More information about ANZGITA can be found on their website.