Dental assistance

THE Lautoka Hospital’s dental clinic is the luckiest in the country, thanks to the assistance provided by New Zealand NGO Smiles For The Pacific, says Health and Medical Services Ministry’s head of dentistry Dr Jone Turagaluvu.

He said the hospital had benefitted since the NGO began assisting since 2012.

“Apart from providing equipment and establishing a fully-equipped treatment and training centre at the Lautoka Hospital, Smiles For The Pacific has also trained a lot of local doctors in the latest techniques,” he said.

“And we are very privileged and grateful because of this.

“They bring a very high standard of equipment and training and also give our local dentists the opportunity to have hands-on training.”

Dr Brian Whitley, an executive with Smiles For The Pacific and an oral and maxillofacial surgeon with 25 years of experience under his belt, said coming to Fiji had given him and the team of specialists from New Zealand the opportunity to give something back to the local community.

“We have spent an excess of $3 million, in terms of equipment donations, training provided and the 150 programs that we have conducted in Fiji and it has all been worth it,” he said.

Dr Whitley said as part of its commitment to helping upskill local dentists, the NGO was taking Dr Inosi Salababa — an oral surgeon based at the Lautoka Hospital — to New Zealand for further training.

“He will go to Waikato Hospital in two weeks time and be exposed to the latest techniques that we are using there.

“This will be good.”

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