NZSA Overseas Aid Subcommittee (OAS)

The NZSA OAS supports anaesthesia training and development overseas,  particularly for our Pacific neighbours.  We have provided assistance to developing countries for many years, including: support for the Annual Refresher Course of the Pacific Society of Anaesthetists, assisting Pacific anaesthetists to attend overseas conferences, locum cover, and support for training and distribution of Lifeboxes in Vietnam. NZSA members have also been active in the WFSA, and many others have contributed aid as individuals or as part of small teams.

The OAS facilitates NZSA’s commitment to overseas aid and enables the NZSA to prioritise and coordinate aid activities. The NZSA supports the committee through its not-for-profit charity status. The OAS works with two other committees in Australasia, the Overseas Development and Education Committee (ODEC) of the Australian Society of Anaesthetists and the ANZCA Overseas Aid Committee.

OAS members are:

Indu Kapoor (Chair, Wellington), Petra van der  Linden Ross (Wellington), James Dalby-Ball (Christchurch), Alan Goodey (Past Chair, Waikato), Wayne Morriss (Past Chair, Christchurch), Tony Diprose (Hawkes Bay), Ted Hughes (Past Chair, North Shore), Maurice Lee (North Shore), Alastair Mark (Nelson)

COVID-19 Support for the Pacific
The NZSA’s Overseas Aid Sub-Committee has been in regular contact with the Pacific Society of Anaesthetists and other regional organisations, sharing information and offering support during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, OASC member Dr Ted Hughes has been based in the Cook Islands, directly supporting their effort.

NZSA has joined with the ASA and ANZCA, providing funds for additional Lifebox pulse oximeters for the Pacific. So far, 150 additional units will be delivered across the Pacific Islands, Papua New Guinea, Laos and Micronesia. These units will be very useful in guiding treatment  (o2 therapy flowchart) of COVID-related respiratory illness in settings where ventilators are a very limited resource.

Activity highlights:

  • Development of Anaesthesia services in the Cook Islands.
  • Continued support for PSA Annual Refresher Course.
  • Support the attachment at Hawkes Bay Hospital and Christchurch Hospital for Pacific trainees, including financial support to attend the EMAC course (Wellington).
  • Supporting/promoting the WFSA World Congress Grant for an anaesthesia leader to attend the World Congress (taking place 5-9 September, 2020). Click here for details about the WFSA 17th World Congress
  • Lifebox Oximeter distribution through the Lifebox Joint Committee (NZSA , ASA, ANZCA and  Interplast).
  • Support for the PSA webpage hosted on the NZSA website.

New Initiative: 

NZSA OAS is now jointly (with the Australian Society of Anaesthetists) funding and supporting a Pacific trainee to undertake the Masters Training Programme in their native country.  We have started a pilot initiative in Samoa and will be assessing its progress.

How can you help?

If you have experience or an interest in overseas aid work, and would like to be part of the work we do, please contact the NZSA Office. We have a limited budget and some activities may be undertaken using CPD funding. If you are interested in donating towards funding a Pacific fellow please contact the NZSA office. Members/departments can also provide financial assistance towards annual trainee fee for the in-country MMED training of Pacific fellows.

The ASA Overseas Aid Committee has set up an Overseas database that covers Australia and New Zealand. You also can register your interest there.

Engagement Opportunities in the Pacific

NZSA OAS Trainee Grant

New Zealand anaesthetic trainees who are NZSA members are invited to apply for the annual Overseas Aid Trainee Grant (NZ $1000.00). The grant goes towards paying the costs of attending the Pacific Society of Anaesthetist’s Annual Conference.

The grant is for NZ trainees who have an interest in overseas aid and global health and development. It provides an opportunity to gain perspective on anaesthesia services in the Pacific, to network with anaesthesia colleagues in the Pacific and to assist with the meeting, if required.

The selected trainee will be required to provide a short report to the NZSA after their attendance at the PSA Conference, for publication. The trainee will also be eligible to be nominated as trainee representative on the NZSA Overseas Aid Sub-Committee.

NZSA trainee membership is free and interested trainees who are not already members of the NZSA, can join at the time of applying for this grant.

Interested applicants should apply using the form below and emailing Dr Petra van der Linden-Ross, NZSA Overseas Aid Sub-Committee Member (

Locum opportunities are regularly advertised in our e-zine, either to cover for the PSA meeting or other times to relieve Pacific collegues throughout the year.  The PSA meeting is generally held in the second half of the year around August or September.  To find out more about the PSA meetings, including information for 2020 click here

To read about the experiences of previous New Zealand locums including trainees click here.


Dr Goodey on the Anaesthesia Assistant course:

Overall the course was a success and Dr Goodey said that training anaesthetic assistants in Fiji and the wider Pacific using the short course format is feasible, and it will make a significant impact on the safety of anaesthesia both in the short and long term.  He is looking to continue this training across the Pacific.  If you wish to donate towards this training please donate to the Hugh Spencer Account below.

How can you help?

Hugh Spencer Account

The Hugh Spencer Education Fund was set up by Hugh Spencer for education opportunities in the Pacific, and is overseen by the NZSA Overseas Aid Subcommittee. If you wish to donate, please send funds directly to the Hugh Spencer Fund bank account: 02-0168-0240227-007.

Please include your name and details to help us identify the payee. Members making donations can claim certain tax deductions.

Anaesthesia Assistants Course in Fiji November 2019

The NZSA OAS organised a short course to begin training Anaesthetic Technicians from Fiji.  This followed a formal request made by Dr Luke Nasedra the head of the Anaesthetic department at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital, Suva.  The course was developed by Dr Alan Goodey and convened by both him and Dr Akuila Waqanicacau from Fiji. It was funded using the Hugh Spencer Fund

The course was  5-days long and Dr Goodey helped to organise a faculty of teachers from New Zealand and NZSA’s Hugh Spencer Education fund reimbursed the cost of their travel and accommodation.

Once organised all 16 Anaesthetic technicians currently working in Fiji completed the course. In addition, the sole anaesthetic technician from the Cook Islands and one ICU/Anaesthetic nurse attended from Tonga.

From New Zealand a faculty was put together which drew heavily on Anaesthetic technicians who had a Pacific heritage and therefore understood some of the cultural and economic issues of healthcare in the Pacific.

Objectives of the course included:

  • Improve knowledge of Pacific based theatre staff working with anaesthetists about anaesthesia practice, its challenges and how best to assist the anaesthetist to provide safe sustainable and efficient anaesthetic care.
  • Assess the Anaesthetic Technician workforce in Fiji, their level of training and what further career development could be supported from New Zealand if requested.
  • Identify local staff suitable for ongoing training
  • Develop experience and expertise amongst NZ based anaesthetic technicians to provide ongoing training of this skill set in the Pacific
  • Provide an opportunity to bring anaesthetic technicians who originally came from the Pacific for training but have stayed based in NZ the chance to bring back their skills and knowledge to the Pacific
  • Provide an opportunity for NZ anaesthetic technicians registered with NZMAT (The New Zealand Medical Assistance team) to have field experience of working in the Pacific so they are better prepared should they be deployed to a sudden disaster in the Pacific.
  • Have a proof of concept that training of anaesthetic technicians and /or nurses is viable in a short course framework in LMICs (Lower Middle Income countries)
  • Develop ongoing relationships and mentoring between NZ based and Pacific based anaesthetic technicians and nurses.