Taking Paediatrics Abroad 2021 Annual Report

Managing Director’s Report 

Taking Paediatrics Abroad (TPA) addresses inequities in the health of Australian Aboriginal Children and in low- and middle-income countries. TPA works to create a brighter future for children and young people through empowering clinicians who care for them by connecting these clinicians with subspecialist colleagues in Australia. 

The Taking Paediatrics Abroad telehealth project arose as a modification of initial plans for face-to-face volunteering due to the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions. 

In Australia, this led to virtual consultations by paediatricians for children and their families at Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Services. 

International telehealth sessions began in May 2020 as high-level technical assistance to build human resource capacity in health to improve child health outcomes. 

Overseas paediatric colleagues discuss their cases with Australian paediatric experts or select a topic that they would like discussed. This ensures that the priorities of other countries are addressed through the education and guidance that is provided and as experiences are shared. International colleagues remain the empowered case managers. 

Outcomes have exceeded expectations resulting in intergenerational benefits; lives have been saved and health systems enhanced. Technology has enabled a broader reach than individual volunteers (whole country paediatric services). This is a very low cost, low risk and with the minimal carbon footprint. 

With deep gratitude, I acknowledge: 

  • Key colleagues overseas who actively drive the endeavours of Taking Paediatrics Abroad. They include Dr Titus Nasi, Steve Lumasa, Dr Thyna Orelly, Dr Caleb Vangana, Dr Annette Garae, Dr George Aho, Dr Flora Lutui, Dr Tito Kamu, Dr Litara Esere, Prof Eap Tek Chheng, Dr Kao Sambath, Dr La Kimsong, Dr Nam Nguyen, Prof Md Sirajul Islam, Prof Mesbah Uddin Ahmed. 
  • The TPA Board, Advisory Group and volunteers 
  • The growing pool of Australian experts who so enthusiastically contribute their time and share knowledge and experience. 

The international telehealth project positions Australians as caring global citizens and enhances the health and wellbeing of children and young people. It empowers international colleagues through sharing of expertise with an experienced colleague. 

A culture of respect and reciprocity results in benefits to clinicians overseas and in Australia. Contributing Australian experts report a deepened sense of purpose, excellent learning opportunities and enrichment of their cultural awareness and a sense of humility when confronted by the diagnostic and management challenges of our international colleagues. They are continually inspired to support their efforts. 

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