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Strengthening Health Systems to Support Children with Neurodevelopmental Disabilities in Fiji—A Commentary

1
Population Child Health Group, University of New South Wales, Sydney 2031, Australia
2
Department of Community Child Health, Sydney Children’s Hospital Network, Sydney 2031, Australia
3
Neurodevelopment & Disability, Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne 3052, Australia
4
Neurodisability & Rehabilitation Research & Melbourne Children’s Global Health, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Melbourne 3052, Australia
5
Department of Paediatrics, Colonial War Memorial Hospital, Suva, Fiji
6
Nossal Institute for Global Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne 3000, Australia
7
Telethon Kids Institute, Perth 6009, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(3), 972; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17030972
Received: 11 November 2019 / Revised: 17 January 2020 / Accepted: 31 January 2020 / Published: 4 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Community Child Health)
Supporting children with neurodevelopmental disabilities (NDDs) is recognized as an increasing priority in Fiji, a middle-income Pacific Island country. Our objective was to describe our approach to developing a model of care and strengthening local leadership in developmental paediatrics in Fiji to ensure high-quality identification, assessment and management of children with NDDs. Paediatric staff at Colonial War Memorial (CWM) Hospital in Suva have worked in partnership with Australian paediatricians to develop the model of care. The platform of continuing medical education during biannual 3 to 4 days of clinic-based teaching with visiting developmental paediatricians from Australia has been used. Since 2010, there have been 15 local and regional paediatric trainees trained. Since 2015, our two local lead paediatric trainees have run a weekly local developmental clinic. In total, 370 children aged 0 to 18 with NDDs have been comprehensively assessed with a detailed history and standardised tools. The model is extending to two divisional hospitals. Research engagement with the team is resulting in the development of a local evidence base. Local, regional and international leadership and collaboration has resulted in increased capacity in the Fijian health system to support children with NDDs. View Full-Text
Keywords: low and middle-income country (LMIC); Fiji; developmental paediatrics; neurodevelopmental disability (NDDs); children low and middle-income country (LMIC); Fiji; developmental paediatrics; neurodevelopmental disability (NDDs); children
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Woolfenden, S.; Milner, K.; Tora, K.; Naulumatua, K.; Mataika, R.; Smith, F.; Lingam, R.; Kado, J.; Tuibeqa, I. Strengthening Health Systems to Support Children with Neurodevelopmental Disabilities in Fiji—A Commentary. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 972.

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