Tonga Conference deliberates on key medical issues

Tonga Conference deliberates on key medical issues

Venkat Raman
Auckland, September 25, 2019

Some of the participants and their partners at the Conference (from left) Vino Ramayah, Dr Rajendra and Eliza Tarak, Dr Deepak and Tisha Grover, Alika Rai, Dr Kamal Karl and Dr Chellaraj and Shyla Benjamin (Picture Supplied)

‘Early detection paves the way for proper treatment and possible cure of Cancer,’ was the underlying message delivered by experts in Oncology, Radiology, Chemotherapy and many other fields of medicine at a Conference held in Tonga last weekend.

Organised by the Auckland Indian Medical Society (AIMS), the one-day Conference, held at the Tanoa International Dateline Hotel in Nuku’alofa, the Tongan Capital on Sunday, September 22, 2019, brought together 60 delegates from New Zealand, Australia, United States of America, India, Samoa and the host country.

Sharing medical knowledge

The AIMS Pacific Conference was the ninth in an annual series, put together by Professor Chellaraj Benjamin, the indefatigable President of the Organisation that motivates medical practitioners to share their knowledge with common people.

“As well as Cancer Specialists, the Conference had the benefit of participation by practitioners in other areas of medicine, including a Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Medial Oncologist and Neurosurgeon from Apollo Hospital in India. A Diabetic Specialist from James University in Townsville (Queensland, Australia) gave a presentation on new medications for diabetes,” Dr Benjamin said.

Ways and means of preventing heart disease and treatment of early childhood diseases were among the issues discussed at the one-day event.

Stan Govender, Dr Meschach Kirubakaran, Dr Kamal Karl and Dr Vijay Bhoola chaired the four sessions of the Conference.

Women attendees at the Conference in Tonga (Picture Supplied)

Conference Speakers

Among the speakers at the Conference who discussed medical issues of their areas of interest were Professor James Shaw (Skin Cancers), Wayne Jones (Breast Cancer Update), Michael Puttick (Doing things Better: Lessons from Sport and Business), Ashish Taneja (Complex Hernias and Abdominal Wall Reconstruction), Taffy Gould, Dr Viali Lameko and Dr Benjamin (representing the Oceania University of Medicine, an online Medical degree provider, the second report on which will appear in Indian Newslink shortly), Vino Ramayah (Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare), Frederick Doss (Affordable Dialysis Service), Dr Roy Rasalam (Receptor Agonists for Type 2 Diabetes), Dr Ashwin Patel (Advances in Electronic Medical Records), Dr Sanjeev Khulbey (Prevention of Heart Disease), Dr Rahul Lath (Neurosciences: Experiences from the Pacific), Dr Kausik Bhattacharya (Cancer Epidemiology in the Pacific), Dr Rita Sasidharan (Adjuvant Chemotherapy under Resource Constraints), Rajeev Rajagopal  (Diagnosing Myeloma in Primary Care), Dr Reuben Broom (I am sore doc – has my cancer come back?), Dr Anna Wojtacha (Cancer Tsunami due to Obesity), Dr Chellam Kirubakaran  (Preserving the Health of South Pacific Children with appropriate Preventative Measures) and Dr David Benson-Cooper (Advances in Radiology).

Dr Benjamin’s talk  on ‘Cyber Knife- The King Cobra,’ was a combination of facts and light-hearted comments.

“It is the most modern Radiation Oncology machine, using  space-age technology. The machine will be shortly installed at the Auckland Radiation Oncology at Mercy Hospital, the first in Auckland,” he said.

Killer Diabetes

Diabetes is among the top killers in today’s world and in New Zealand, an increasing number of people of Indian origin are falling a pray to this deadly disease which has the capacity to destroy various organs of the human body.

AIMS has been creating awareness on Diabetes and ways and means of avoiding it for the past 15 or more years, but nothing seems to be enough to improve awareness.

Jowitt Ljiljana, who currently works at AUT University, wrote in 2014 that the prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes was 8.6% among Asian Indians in New Zealand, still higher than in their homeland. She cited ethnicity, genetic predisposition, sedentary lifestyle and altered nutrition as key causes.

“Central obesity was associated with insulin resistance and low grade systemic Inflammation,” she said.

According to 2013 Census, people of Indian origin in New Zealand were the largest affected ethnic group (11%).

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