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Dr Oberli leaves

Dr Oberli with his patients
Dr. Hermann Oberli with two of his young patient Steward Wokahikeni (left) and Janet Sibale on Friday.

A CONSULTANT specialist surgeon in orthopaedic Dr. Herman Oberli leaves Solomon Islands tomorrow after ten years serving in the country with no specialist to replace him as an othopaedician.

He leaves Solomon Islands to return to his home country Switzerland after spearheading and developing the orthopaedic ward at the National Referral Hospital.

Many patients suffered from fractured bones would remember Dr. Oberli as a hardworking and helpful surgeon.

Dr. Oberli leaves behind enormous contribution and invaluable benevolence for the people and the medical service of this country.

But he is sad that the first Solomon Islander orthopaedician Dr. Silent Tovosia who supposed to take over from him is now working in the Cook Islands.

"I have invested $250,000 in his training but in the end he left. He must come back to serve in the country," Dr. Oberli said.

Another orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Douglas Pikacha is currently in Fiji.

Dr. Oberli expressed that the country badly needs an orthopaedic specialist upon his departure.

When he leaves tomorrow, the Swiss surgeon would be satisfied with what he has achieved during his work in the country.

These include signing expatriate surgeons to help local medical practitioners in the country.

Treating several thousand patients in Solomon Islands was one of his greatest satisfactions.

Dr. Oberli also introduce new techniques to treat bone problems and improve infrastructure and sent nurses to train in Australia.

He also supported the nurse aid courses hosted at Malu'u in north Malaita and the United Church run Helena Goldie Hospital in Munda, Western Province.

One of Dr. Oberli's contributlons is a telepathology machine to detect diseases by sending specimen overseas using digital camera installed at the NRH.

New medical wards still not open at the NRH did not satisfy Dr. Oberli.

"The new wards should have opened in 2001. This is terrible and it disappoints me," he added.

Dr. Oberli said there is still lack of space and staff at the NRH In Honiara.

Government's priority to allocate less money into medical services in the country is also one of his concerns.

He stated that there are more workshops and talking going on without actions.

Although he was on leave since May this year, Dr. Oberli continued working at the operating theater up until the weekend.

Dr. Tovosia reported in 1996 while doing his orthopaedic training at Campbelltown hospital in New South Wales, Australia that the NRH made much progress in orthopaedic and trauma services because of Dr. Oberli's help.

He said the Department of Surgery at the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) recommended the NRH to be recognised as postgraduate teaching institution for Solomon Islands surgical trainees in 1995.

This was for those doing Masters of Medicine (surgery) training program at UPNG. As a result, two surgical registrars did their postgraduate training in orthopaedics and trauma surgery at the NRH in Honiara in 1996.

"Much of this surgical services was accredited by the Swiss specialist consultant surgeon who arrived in Honiara on September 1993," Dr. Tovosia stated.

Dr. Tovosia said there are also institutions, organisations and private individuals overseas who supported his work.

"Dr. Oberli is an extremely well accomplished general surgeon and a member of the AO-ASIF group (an international body of surgeons devoted to the study of fixing bones," he added.

SOLOMON STAR - Monday 23 June, 2003, page 2

© June 2003 Solomon Star