New and improved hospital facilities to benefit Fijians and government cost savings

“Since the start of the neurosurgery service in Fiji over seven years ago, we have spent almost FJ$1 million on overseas referrals for neurosurgical patients because we did not have this state of the art microscope . We will now be able to achieve these savings through the acquisition of this specialized equipment and the supporting systems and processes we have built over the years.


CWMH Neurosurgeon Dr. Alan Biribo explains how the new state-of-the-art neurosurgical microscope works to Department of Health and Medical Services Assistant Media Liaison Luke Rawalai yesterday.

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services continues to upgrade public hospital equipment to ensure better access to health care for all Fijians.

Supplying the new state-of-the-art ZEISS TIVATO 700 Neurosurgical Microscope to the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva will save the government nearly $1 million in referral fees.

The new microscope, which costs $673,000, will allow local surgeons to treat intraventricular tumors deep in the brain’s waterways.

The new neurosurgical microscope is expected to broaden the spectrum of clinical applications for spine surgeons.

The Minister of Health and Medical Services, Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete, said the ministry has a routine replacement program which takes place every three to four years.

Dr. Alan Biribo, neurosurgeon, explained the benefits of the new state-of-the-art equipment saying that expenses for referrals of brain surgery cases depended on referral locations.

Referrals to India, for example, cost between FJ$31,000 and 41,000, while referrals to Australia and New Zealand cost around FJ$201,000, depending on the center the patients were referred to. .

“The above costs cover a wide range of surgical conditions and their treatment and we will know the true values ​​once we start operating and treating cases and determining comparable costs for the surgical care we have provided through using this high-end operating equipment,” said Dr. Biribo.

“Since the start of the neurosurgery service in Fiji over seven years ago, we have spent almost FJ$1 million on overseas referrals for neurosurgical patients because we did not have this state of the art microscope . We will now be able to achieve these savings through the acquisition of this specialized equipment and the supporting systems and processes we have built over the years.

“One of the features of the Tivato 700 that sets it apart from previous models of the machine is that it is more maneuverable, which makes surgery much easier to perform and very effective in treating surgical pathology.

“It has great teaching aids such as a large attached TV screen, various outlets for other viewing ports and also Wi-Fi access teaching stations outside of the theater which means that we can operate in theater and broadcast images of the operation in a room 50 meters away.”

Dr. Biribo said apart from that, the microscope also had a feature that allowed surgeons to diagnose tumors that could not be done with untrained eyes.

“So it has all of these features to improve patient care, surgery safety and obviously improve outcomes for these neuro-surgical cases.

“In general, the microscope allows access to very deep and inaccessible structures of the brain, which increases the scope of neurosurgical work we can perform and thus increases the number of patients we can successfully treat in Fiji without the need for overseas medical references.

“I think that’s a big plus for patients because we can treat more with this equipment here locally who would otherwise have to be referred overseas for services.”

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Lillian L. Pena