A team of three Australian ENT (ear-nose-throat) specialists and a nurse arrived in Fiji last week to provide free health screenings and surgeries for dozens of children at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva.
The humanitarian medical mission was arranged by the Israel Foreign Ministry’s MASHAV Agency for International Development Cooperation, the Israeli Embassy in Canberra and the Australasian Jewish Medical Federation.
Through August 2, the doctors are treating up to 50 children whose ENT conditions cannot be handled by hospital personnel. They are working closely with Fijian doctors through the South Pacific island nation’s Ministry of Health and Medical Services.
One of the children they were asked to evaluate was 2-year-old Florabelle Taylor Moses, who has suffered severe breathing problems since birth. They performed a difficult five-hour surgery on Florabelle on July 28 and she is recovering well.
“I’ll forever be grateful to the State of Israel for sending a great gifted team of medical professionals to Fiji. You saved my little girl’s life,” posted Florabelle’s mother, Roberta Taylor, on Facebook page of the group Fijians Love Israel. “Thank you for your love and support for our little island. May the Lord God of Israel continue to bless the work of your hands,” Taylor concluded.
Doctors Eduard Pudel, Michael Gordon and Mark Fajgman, and registered nurse Gail McNaught were greeted by Fiji residents waving Israeli flags at Nausori International Airport on July 23.
Two days later, the new non-resident Israeli Ambassador to Fiji, Tibor Shalev Schlosser, presented his credentials to President Jioji Konousi Konrote. That night, an exhibition at Fiji National University highlighted Israeli innovation in many fields. Fiji and Israel signed an agricultural memorandum of understanding at the event.
Schlosser’s arrival coincided with the first anniversary of a MASHAV and IsraAID project to help rebuild 24 houses destroyed by Tropical Cyclone Winston in the village of Vuma.