Home' Southern Health News : Southern Health News - February 2015 Contents This husband and wife team, who recently left
for Ethiopia, are no strangers to humanitarian
work or third world conditions having previously
lived in Niger, West Africa, with their three
children in the early 1990s.
Associate Professor Chew, who was the General
and Plastics Surgical Department Head of Unit
at the Repatriation General Hospital (RGH), has
taken up a position as Director of Surgery and
Surgical Training at Soddo Christian Hospital for
the Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons.
Dr Goh, a Palliative Care Physician with the
Southern Adelaide Palliative Service based at
RGH, has also joined Soddo Christian Hospital,
holding a faculty teaching position, as well
as providing senior clinical leadership in the
Associate Professor Chew said the main
priorities during his five year tenure were to
train the country’s next generation of surgeons
and establish an endoscopy service and training
He will oversee four surgical registrars in
training, who will be groomed to write the
regional college of surgeons’ exam (COSECSA
College of Surgeons of East, Central and
“It is important these surgeons are skilled
in treating conditions common to Africa in
local working conditions, using appropriate
technology,” said Associate Professor Chew, who
developed a strong interest in providing medical
care in underdeveloped nations after completing
a student elective at a Niger hospital in 1981.
“Provision of services is one thing, but training
(clinicians) in endoscopy is the ultimate aim.
“I see people who are so happy who have so
little and it makes me ashamed that I can be so
unhappy with so much – I think it has made me
less demanding and more flexible as a surgeon.”
This is an attitude shared by Dr Goh, who hopes
to share her passion for teaching and mentoring
“We want to be able to build capacity and help
these staff train their own people to find local
solutions and have ownership,” Dr Goh said.
“Our hearts are very much in the countries with
Plans are already underway to establish a
Flinders University medical student selective
rotation at the Soddo Christian Hospital, possibly
from next year.
* Story provided by Flinders University Alumni
Administrative Coordinator Viv Andersson.
Andrew and Sok Hui take their skills to Ethiopia
Southern Adelaide Local Health Network staff Associate Professor Andrew
Chew and Dr Sok Hui Goh will dedicate the next five years to training a new
wave of doctors and surgeons at a missionary hospital in Ethiopia.
Southern Adelaide Local Health Network staff
Associate Professor Andrew Chew and Dr Sok
Hui Goh will spend the next five years working in
a missionary hospital in Ethiopia.
eyes common cause
BY JANE TREMBATH
A new study which seeks to
uncover genetic risk factors in a
leading cause of blindness is being
carried out by Flinders Medical
Centre’s Dr Georgia Kaidonis.
Dr Kaidonis was recently awarded a full
time Avant Doctors in Training Research
Scholarship to research risk factors and the
management of diabetic retinopathy and
Diabetic retinopathy is the most common
diabetic eye disease and is caused by
changes in the blood vessels of the retina.
It is potentially blinding without appropriate
treatment during the early stages of the
Dr Kaidonis, who is also studying a PhD at
Flinders University, will collect DNA samples
from all over Australia, and also from
London, for a Registry of Advanced Diabetic
Retinopathy and use state-of-the art genetic
analysis to determine which gene variations
are involved in the disease process.
“By better understanding why some
people with diabetes develop these severe
complications and others do not, we may be
able to predict who is at risk before vision is
lost,” Dr Kaidonis said.
“The identification of new genes may also
allow for the development of novel screening
techniques and appropriate therapies to
prevent or delay these complications in
Dr Kaidonis hopes her research will be
of particular benefit to those living in
Indigenous communities, where people are
up to six times more likely to suffer diabetic
retinopathy than non-Indigenous groups.
A smartphone app has also been developed
to provide ophthalmologists with a quick
and efficient system to refer suitable
patients to the registry.
For more information visit
Flinders Medical Centre’s
Dr Georgia Kaidonis
12 / FEBRUARY 2015 / SOUTHERN HEALTH NEWS
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