Text: Scholars on their way to success.

We’re delighted to announce that Interplast has awarded scholarships to six dedicated plastic and reconstructive surgeons. Thanks to our generous sponsors, each scholar will be able to attend the RACS (Royal Australasian College of Surgeons) Annual Scientific Congress in May 2024.

Photo of Dr Singh in scrubs and sunglasses.

Dr Ravneil Singh (Fiji)

Scholarship sponsor: PolyNovo

Dr Ravneil Singh is a senior surgical registrar in the Plastics and Reconstruction Surgery Unit in Colonial War Memorial (CWM) Hospital in Fiji – the country’s major divisional and referral hospital.

Dr Singh commenced his Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery at the Fiji School of Medicine in 2009, and had an early affinity for surgery, so made his decision to specialise in this discipline quite early in his undergraduate years. He graduated in 2014 and did his internship at CWM Hospital, followed by a posting to Koro Island (in the Eastern part of Fiji). Shortly after arriving in Koro, the island was struck by a category 5 cyclone, which left much devastation, and a high number of trauma cases. This again cemented his decision to specialise in surgery.

He then undertook a 2-year posting at Lautoka Hospital as an unaccredited surgical registrar, and commenced the Postgraduate Surgery program through Fiji National University – moving back to CWM Hospital while he completed his Diploma and Masters program. He developed a particular interest in plastic and reconstructive surgery, and wishes in the future to sub-specialise in hand surgery.

Apart from medicine, Dr Singh is also a singer, songwriter and music producer. He also enjoys playing soccer, table tennis and volleyball.

“To be given this opportunity to be part of one the largest surgical conferences in the Australasian region for the first time will definitely be both a personal and professional milestone.”

“I am excited to see the advancements in the other subspecialties of surgery which I can take back and share with my colleagues in Fiji so that they can also try and implement it into their respective fields.
This will greatly help my professional development and bringing back those skills to my country will definitely be another rung on the ladder of progress for surgery in Fiji.”

“Thank you for the opportunity.”

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Photo of Dr Samarathunga in scrubs and hair net.

Dr Dishan Samarathunga (Sri Lanka)

Scholarship sponsor: Polynovo

Dr Samarathunga (MD, MRCS) is a Senior Resident in plastic surgery from Colombo, Sri Lanka. He currently works in the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgical Unit and the National Burns Centre at The National Hospital of Sri Lanka which is the leading teaching hospital and the main referral centre in the country.

He graduated from Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo and obtained his MD from The Postgraduate Institute of Medicine, University of Colombo. He is currently involved in patient assessment, planning and executing management with regards to general plastic surgery, trauma surgery, hand surgery, craniomaxillofacial surgery, microsurgery, cosmetic surgery and Burns surgery in his unit. He is also involved in several ongoing research activities and teaching and training programs for junior doctors, medical students and nursing officers.

Dr Samarathunga’s work and research interests lie in the fields of microsurgery, hand surgery and craniomaxillofacial surgery. He believes that research, international collaboration and innovation are key to improving plastic surgical service in Sri Lanka.

“This opportunity is important to me to meet experts in my field and acquire new knowledge and skills.”

“I will use this opportunity to build up communication links between local colleagues and international experts to enhance patient management and research skills in Sri Lanka.”

“I will share what I learned through lectures, presentations and group discussions. I will include what I learned in my day-to-day clinical work (in theatres and ward setting) and educate my colleagues through more practical methods.”

Put surgeons like Dr Samarathunga on the fast track to greater experience and knowledge.

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Photo of Dr Fulivai in scrubs in a hospital office.

Dr Alamea Fulivai (Tonga)

Scholarship sponsor: Rotary Clubs of Mt Eliza, Mt Martha, Mornington, Somerville-Tyabb and Sorrento

Alamea Fulivai is a general surgeon from Tonga. She was trained in the Fiji School of Medicine and works primarily in Tonga- but has worked around the Pacific region. She has a keen interest in plastic surgery and has been involved in the Interplast visits to Tonga for the last decade.

Dr Fulivai completed a 2-year fellowship in general and pediatric surgery in Waikato Hospital before returning to Tonga in 2022. She developed a new love of hiking during her time in NZ which is unheard of in an island as flat as Tonga, and recently completed the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

“The theme this year goes beyond the technical aspects of surgery and looks at decision making, ethical considerations and leadership responsibilities. These talks are important to me as I prepare to take over the leadership role in surgery.”

“The scholarship allows me to get up to date and evidence based surgical practice in Australasia. I am also able to network with peers from Australasia as well as the Pacific.”

“I hope to gain more insight into the ethical and decision-making side of things. We unofficially wear many hats in the Ministry of Health and this is something we step into without training. This is a great opportunity to learn a different side of surgery that will ultimately help prepare me for a leadership role. I will pass on this information via a presentation to my colleagues back home during our grand rounds.”

Support emerging female leaders in plastic and reconstructive surgery, like Dr Fulivai.

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Photo of Dr Fanueli in scrubs and hair net.

Dr Mayday Fanueli (Samoa)

Scholarship sponsor: Jan and Garry Hart

Dr Fanueli is a Samoan surgical registrar, and one of only two female doctors in the surgical department at the Tupua Tamasese Meaole (TTM) Hospital in Apia, Samoa. She completed her MBBS at Fiji National University in 2017, followed by a 2-year internship at the TTM Hospital and a 12-month placement as the Medical Officer looking after Lalomanu District Hospital, in 2020.

She joined the surgical department in 2021 at TTM, for a 3-month placement, however, she requested to stay on, having found her calling. She has recently commenced the Surgical Postgraduate Diploma Program at Fiji National University.

Dr Fanueli has worked closely alongside visiting Interplast teams to Samoa over the past 2 years, and aspires to be the first female qualified surgeon in Samoa. She has a special interest in reconstructive and plastic surgery, which she sees is very much needed in her small country.

“Attending the RACS conference is a great opportunity for me, as a young aspiring female surgeon to meet and network with other great people in the field. Building a strong professional network can open doors to collaborations, mentorship opportunities, and career advancement as I am interested the plastics and reconstructive surgery.”

“It can enhance my knowledge and skills, ultimately leading to improved patient care and outcomes as I know there will be useful presentations and discussions about new and upcoming research, treatments and up-to-date best practices for patient care.”

“I feel that coming from a developing country/hospital and witnessing the new technology or skills in developed countries inspires me to have more ideas and develop our own hospital so that our people can get the best care.”

Equip surgeons like Dr Fanueli with the knowledge and experience they need to serve their communities.

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Photo of Dr Nuli in surgical scrubs.

Dr Jackson Nuli (PNG)

Scholarship sponsor: Efex

Dr Nuli is a Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon, and is the Head of the Plastic and Reconstructive and Burns Unit and the Port Moresby General Hospital in Papua New Guinea. He graduated as a general surgeon in 2017 from the University of PNG, before specialising in plastic surgery.

During 2017 and 2018 he was the sole surgeon in West New Britain province, attending all surgery cases. As Head of Unit, he provides guidance and training to all the trainee plastic surgeons, as well as guidance to the general surgery candidates.

He has undertaken training placements at the Chang Gung Hospital in Taiwan and the JIPMER Hospital in India, within their plastic surgery departments.

“The opportunity to attend RACS will give me the platform to share my experience with other plastic and reconstructive surgeons, and also learn from other surgeon’s experience. This can help me to collaborate with other surgeons so that it improves my standard of practice in my country.”

“I am really looking forward to learning from my colleagues from other countries, how they manage their clinical cases, the challenges they face and how they meet those challenges.”

“What I am hoping to learn from this opportunity is how to set up a plastic surgery unit out of the little resources that we have. I am hoping to see what other surgeons are doing to make a system of care work.”

Give surgeons like Dr Nuli the opportunity to build networks and learn from other surgeons in their field.

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Photo of Dr Begum in a white cost in a hospital ward.

Dr Most Nurunnahar Begum (Bangladesh)

Scholarship sponsor: Avant

Dr Most. Nurunnahar Begum is currently working as Assistant Professor of Plastic Surgery in Sheikh Hasina National Institute of Burn & Plastic Surgery, Dhaka, Bangladesh, which is the 500 bedded largest burn care center of the country.

She graduated from Dhaka Medical College in 2005 and completed her post- graduation in Master of Surgery (Plastic Surgery) in January 2018 from Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU). She has good working experience in the field of plastic surgery, especially in hand surgery and burns. She loves to work with children with congenital hand conditions, post burn scar contracture of the hand and post electric burn reconstruction.

Dr Begum is also interested in teaching and doing research, and has participated in many trainings, conferences, and workshops at home and abroad. She has a strong interest in working towards the prevention of burns injuries – in particular, electrical burns, and supporting the rehabilitation and welfare of those who have limbs amputated as a result of burn injury.

“As a plastic surgeon working in the country’s largest burn and plastic surgery centre, every day I have to manage lots of challenging cases. With rapid development of the country, the number of electric burns and trauma increases drastically. Reconstruction is challenging and very often patients are ended up with non-functioning deformed limb. We need expertise to learn the recent advances in surgical procedure and management.”

“By attending this conference, I will get the opportunity to meet renowned plastic surgeons, will see their presentation and work. This will help to upgrade my knowledge, attitude towards patient, and surgical skill to elevate standard of my plastic surgical practice which ultimately be will beneficial for my patients.”

“Under this scholarship, I will get short observational placement at a leading burns and paediatric hospital. The experience I will gather here can make positive changes in patents care in my institute.”

“I will also be able to enlighten my residents and colleagues with the recent advances I learn through this program to contribute for further development of burn plastic surgery in Bangladesh.”

Enable surgical equity with an Interplast Scholarship.

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