The Pacific Islands Program (PIP) has been synonymous with RACS Global Health since it was launched in 1995. Funded by the Australian Government through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the last two decades have seen more than 600 volunteer medical teams visit 11 Pacific Island countries, providing over 60,000 consultations and 16,000 procedures.
In 2016, RACS entered into a new five year grant agreement with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to extend the program until 2021, with activities now covering all specialised clinical services including surgery, anaesthesia, cardiology, nursing, radiology, nephrology, psychiatry and more.
The key to this has been strengthening ties with other Australian, New Zealand, and Pacific Island specialist associations and colleges. Activities seek to support medical education, hospital services, clinical governance, workforce planning, the continuing professional development of clinicians, and the systems and structures that support their function throughout the Pacific. The overall aim of the program is to ensure that health care in Pacific Island countries is affordable, appropriate to local needs, of good quality and accessible.
What we do
Continuing professional development
RACS recognises that there is a shortage of trained and skilled national specialists and provides specialist medical education, training, and capacity development in line with national workforce development plans. Visiting medical teams and in-country personnel provide clinical mentoring and education to national doctors, nurses and allied health professionals and deliver train-the-trainer programs to strengthen the institutional capacity of national health services and training institutions in the region.
Complementing the education and training of specialists across the Pacific, supporting protocols, systems, and infrastructure is required to improve clinical governance and in the end, service quality and patient safety.
How we do it
Demand driven - RACS is committed to supporting the long-term sustainability of health care services in the region. Activities are designed in consultation with, and at the request of Pacific Island country Ministries of Health, and align with both individual national health priorities and regional concerns and opportunities.
Evidenced based - To ensure efficient and effective resource allocation, RACS supports clinicians and Ministries of Health in evidence-based decision making to direct activities and key areas of investment. Pivotal to this, RACS is dedicated to strengthening data collection and interpretation across all implemented activities, and within national and regional health structures and systems.
Visiting Medical Teams (VMTs) – RACS is an established and trusted provider of VMTs and has an excellent track record over the past 20 years of leveraging VMTs to provide practical experience, training, and professional development to new and established professionals across the Pacific region. VMTs mobilised cover a wide range of specialties based upon in-country needs, and as such, close coordination and collaboration is required with other Australian and New Zealand Specialist colleges and associations.
How we know we are making a difference
RACS Global Health is committed to improving access to safe anesthesia and surgical care in the Pacific Island countries where we work. To understand our performance towards this objective and identify opportunities to ensure our success in the future, RACS commissioned an independent mid-term review of the PIP.
The findings of the review highlight the value of the PIP for Pacific surgeons and other health workers, as well as opportunities to increase the PIP’s impact by extending training support to surgical nurses and increasing opportunities for online learning. Read more (PDF 1.82MB).
Royal Australasian College of Surgeons
250-290 Spring Street
East Melbourne VIC 3002 Australia
Program and Operations Manager - Ms Robyn Whitney
Telephone: +61 3 9249 1121
Head of Global Health - Ms Philippa Nicholson
Telephone: +61 3 9249 1278