The Pacific Islands Project (PIP), funded by AusAid and managed by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS), has progressed through three phases from 1995 to 2010. During this time, it has sent over 520 teams to 11 Pacific Island Countries, providing over 60,000 consultations and some 16,000 procedures. In addition to this delivery of specialist medical and surgical services that were not previously available in-country, the project has contributed as a partner in capacity building with the Fiji School of Medicine and Ministries of Health of the individual nations. By 2011, Fiji School of Medicine, which began postgraduate specialist training in 1998, had awarded 51 doctors a diploma in surgery (1 year), 20 of whom had completed their Masters in Medicine (4 years). PIP was independently evaluated on completion of every phase, including the bridging Phase III (2006-2010). The project delivered on its design, to deliver services, and also helped build capacity. The relationship established with the RACS throughout the project allowed Pacific Island graduates to access the Rowan Nicks scholarship, and the majority of MMed graduates received International Travel Grants to attend the Annual Scientific Meeting. PIP has been a highly successful partnership in delivering and building specialist medical services. Although AusAid contributed some $20 million over 16 years, the value added from pro bono contributions by Specialist Teams, Specialty Coordinators and the Project Directors amounted to an equivalent amount. With the emergence of Pacific Island-trained specialists, PIP is ready to move into a new phase where the agendas are set, monitored and managed within the Pacific, and RACS fulfils the role of a service provider. A critical mass of Pacific Island surgeons has been trained, so that sub-specialization will be an option for the general surgeons of the larger island nations.
© 2012 The Authors. ANZ Journal of Surgery © 2012 Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.