WFSA Distinguished Service Award - Dr Sereima Bale

19 days ago
By: Daphne Atkinson

Dr Sereima Bale was presented with the WFSA's Distinguished Service Award at last week's 17th World Congress of Anesthesiologists. 

Dr Bale was a senior lecturer in anaesthesia at the University of Fiji for over 20 years, where, amongst many other accolades, she was responsible for the establishment of a Diploma of Anaesthesia (DA) and the Masters of Medicine (MMed) Anaesthesia. She provided 48 years of continuous service as an Anaesthetist in Fiji, and was a Consultant Anaesthetist at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital (CWMH), Suva. 

In 2012, Dr Bale was honoured as one of the first members of the CWMH Hall of Fame for Perioperative Medical Services.

She has been instrumental in introducing Primary Trauma Care training in the Pacific, was closely involved with the Australian Society of Anaesthetists (ASA) Pacific Fellowship program since 2003, and has also supported many other courses including the SAFE Obstetrics course. She worked closely with the ASA Overseas Development and Education Committee (ODEC) and formed the Pacific Society of Anaesthetists. She is also clinical advisor to the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade-supported organisation, “Strengthening Specialized Clinical Services in the Pacific” (SSCIP). In August 2003 a new program was introduced with her assistance to enable trainees in their final 5th year of training from Australia to spend three months in the Pacific Fellowship. This was accredited with the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists and continues today as the Sereima Bale Pacific Fellowship.

After serving 22 years with the Fiji National University’s (FNU) College of Medicine, Nursing, and Health Sciences (CMNHS), Dr Bale retired from her role last year.

Dr Bale, an Assistant Professor of Anaesthesia at the CMNHS, was seconded to join the then Fiji School of Medicine (FSM) in 1998 as a Senior Lecturer in Anaesthesia. She devoted much of her professional life improving the health service through education and training of health professionals in the region.

Dr Bale had an instrumental role in establishing the Postgraduate training programme at the then FSM in 1996.

This programme has produced 94 Postgraduate Diploma in Anaesthesia students so far.  Out of these, 44 have completed their Master of Medicine (Anaesthesia) degree and are now practising as specialist Anesthetists in Fiji, the Pacific region and East Timor.

Dr Bale was nominated for this award by the Australian Society of Anaesthetists and Pacific Society of Anaesthetists.

The NZSA joins the WFSA in congratulating Dr Bale and expressing our gratitude for her special contribution to anaesthesiology.