East Kwaio produces first surgeon

Back: Prof Allan Saunder from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeon
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By Alfred Sasako

EAST Kwaio, often ostracised by the rest of the country, has produced its first Surgeon.

Dr Elvis Biofa Japhleth who comes from Ilanunu Village, near Atoifi Hospital in East Kwaio, has been awarded a Gold Medal by the Australasian College of Surgeons to Master of Surgery candidate from the University of Papua New Guinea’s School of Medicine.

Dr Japhleth will travel to Australia next October to receive his much-coveted Award.

He told Island Sun yesterday he was over the moon about the Award, describing himself as a poor little village boy, labelled by some of his friends as “loser, failure and dumb.”

“I really went through struggles in school – no money, little clothing and no support at all. I had to work during the school holidays until former Member of Parliament for East Kwaio, Alfred Sasako introduced free education policy during his time,” he said.

“I worked really hard and topped the class in every subject in primary school such as Imbo also in East Kwaio and later in high school at Kukudu, Western Province.”

He did his foundation at King George VI School and later accepted to do Medicine at the University of Papua New Guinea where he graduated with an MBBS.

Japhleth completed his four-year Master of Surgery training this year.

“As the first Kwaio Surgeon I am proud. Kwaio too should be proud,” he said.

While he has no firm plans for the future, Japhleth yesterday expressed his gratitude to those who have helped him to reach the pinnacle of the academic world.

“Thanks to Prof Ikau Kevau, Head and Director of Surgical training UPNG who has trained a lot of Surgeons in the Pacific. Prof Kevau is the pillar of surgery and surgical training.

“I would also like to thank Dr Osborn Liko, Chief Surgeon of Papua New Guinea as well as Dr Noah Tapaua, Cardiothoraxic Surgeon.”

Former East Kwaio MP, Alfred Sasako, yesterday congratulated Japhleth on his academic achievement, saying this poor little village boy has put Kwaio on the world map.

“I am truly proud that the small seed I had sown all those years ago is now going to help save lives wherever Dr Japhleth decided to work in the future. I challenge every Kwaio student to emulate Dr Japhleth’s exemplary achievement.”

Front: L to R. Dr Noah Tapaua Cardiothoraxic Surgeon, Dr Benjamin Thomas Surgeon, Prof Ikau Kevau Head and Director of Surgical Training, Dr Elvis Japhleth Surgeon and Dr Osborn Liko, Chief Surgeon PNG.