What we do

Each year, Friends of Fiji Heart Foundation sends a mission to Fiji to perform heart surgery not otherwise available to people of Fiji.

The team spends approximately two weeks in Fiji doing open-heart surgeries, Pacemaker Insertions and clinics. The team comprises of approximately 60 volunteers which moves like an army, taking about 10 tons of medical equipment and medical supplies when it goes for the mission each year. On their first trip the team operated from Suva Hospital. Operations since then have been conducted from Lautoka Hospital.

Selection of Patients

Selection of Patients is an important preparation for the surgery. A team of cardiologists proceed to Lautoka, Labasa and Suva to assess and screen patients. During each visit, up to 200 patients are assessed of which about 40-50 are shortlisted. From the shortlist some 25 are finally selected and operated on. Thus far, the team has had an excellent success rate with the patients they have operated.

The Medical & Surgical Team

The medical team comprises of cardiothoracic surgeons, cardiologists, anaesthetists, intensivists, anaesthetic technicians, Perfusionist, specialist theatre nurses, intensive care and ward nurses and physiotherapist. The team is led by Fiji’s own son Dr. Parma Nand who is the only open-heart surgeon that Fiji has produced so far. Some of the other members of the team are former Fiji citizens. The rest are New Zealanders or other nationals working in New Zealand’s health system. The entire team provides their time and their services for free. Their travel, accommodation and meals are provided by the Friends of Fiji Heart Foundation.

Transporting Medical Equipment and Materials

Friends of Fiji Heart Foundation is extremely fortunate to have Mr Ambedh Sharma and Mr Jay Patel as trustees. They oversee the entire process of receiving, packaging, customs clearance at both ends, safe keeping, arrival at the destination and safe return of medical equipment back to New Zealand. They handle up to 10 tons of medical supplies and equipment for each trip at their own expense. With help of Fiji Air and Air New Zealand, and shipping Agencies we have been able to transport these medical equipment and supplies at no or nominal cost.    

Our Procedures

The surgeries we do are not normally available in Fiji and not easily accessible by the poor and needy. The treatments we provide are:

Surgical Valve Replacement
This is done by open heart surgery whereby patients damaged valve is replaced by mechanical or bio prosthetic valve. This is a major surgery and requires the use of heart- lung bypass machines.

Surgical Closures of hole in the heart
This operation also involves open heart surgery. The hole between left and right side of the heart is closed by placing a patch to close the hole.

Coronary Angiogram
A diagnostic procedure to rule out narrowing in the arteries supplying the muscles of the heart. Special dye is injected through the arteries in the arm or groin while viewing under x-ray

Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI)
Also known as angioplasty. Treatment of the narrowing in the coronary by placement of coronary stent.

Pacemaker Insertion
A pacemaker is a small device that’s placed in the chest through a small surgical insertion to help control abnormal heart rhythms.

Pacemaker Clinics
Patients who have received pacemaker in earlier visits are followed up annually to ensure optimal functioning of the device. Annual follow up also help detect, correct and diagnose any abnormalities that arise in the pacing system and hence improving longevity of the device by appropriate programming.

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