LEADING paediatric urologist Doctor Vipul Upadhahy is in the country with a team of Australian and New Zealand surgeons as they tend to anatomically disadvantaged children.
Their local counterpart Doctor Josese Turagava said some 30 children from around the country, between the ages of 24 hours and 12 years old would go under the knife within the next week as doctors rectify cases of ambiguous genitalia, hypospadias ù a birth defect of the urethra found in male, and imperforate anus ù a birth defect in which the rectum is malformed.
"This is the reality of life. We fix the structure so that they can still play rugby for Fiji. A lot of hype is given to cardiac babies but cardiac babies can do much for Fiji's rugby," Dr Turagava said.
The free medical surgery carried out by a seven-member team of surgeons began on Friday and is sponsored by the Australian College of Surgeons.
"The intent is to give the younger generation better quality of life from early age. In cases of ambiguous genitalia, we find out if the child is more female or male before we work to make the person more cosmetically acceptable," Dr Turagava said.
According to Dr Turagava, as many as 50 children with birth defects linked to the urethra, genitalia or anatomy were brought to medical clinics in the lead up to the surgery.
"Twenty of them did not turn up this (last) week. Many have changed telephone numbers. We hope they are aware of the arrival of the medical team," he said.