The Pacific Dermatology Training Centre was opened by The Honourable Ifereimi Waqainabete, Minister for Health and Medical Services in Fiji.
Dr Whitfeld has been doing work in Fiji, and helping the Fijians carry out research since 2003. Along the way she has been involved in two large trials where they learnt much about scabies, and its domination of the health, sickness and quality of life of children in Fiji.
Dr Margot Whitfeld from St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney was part of the Scabies Research Group that won a Eureka Prize. “The research group worked tirelessly to reduce the prevalence of scabies in Fiji from 33% of the population to less than 2%.”
“Specialized dermatological assessments and skin treatment for persons with albinism are provided monthly at the Twomey Tamavua Hospital in Suva, and supported by the Fiji Albinism Project. There is currently only one specialized dermatologist working in collaboration with the medical personnel of this hospital to perform therapeutic interventions against pre-cancerous skin lesions.”
People with albinism are sometimes ostracised and often misunderstood and in the Pacific … To mark World Albinism Day, Anna Whitfeld accompanied her sister, dermatologist Dr Margot Whitfeld, on a visit to Fiji to meet some of the families who are living with the condition.
A recently released short film ‘Coming Out Of The Shadows’ is helping to raise awareness of albinism and features four families who share their experiences living with the condition.
Fiji is a country that attracts many tourists seeking to bask in its abundance of sunshine, but for a significant number of Fijian locals, sunlight is something they try their best to avoid. “”Dr Margot Whitfeld, an Australian dermatologist who last year organised the first Fiji Albinism Awareness Symposium, said it is not known why the rate of albinism is so high in Fiji.
“Last year Dr Margot Whitfeld from St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney led a research project which tested 13,000 Fijians and delivered numbers significantly higher than earlier estimates.”