Wilderness Medicine in the Wairarapa

Monday, June 24th, 2019 | Rory | No Comments


Over the weekend of 25thMay sixteen students of the Wellington School of Medicine spent the Friday night Saturday and Sunday morning at Holdsworth Lodge  in the Tararua Forest Park near Masterton. They were joined by John Apps, Jan Arnold, Richard Price, Jo Scott-Jones, Jenny Visser, Petra Watson and myself (Branko Sijnja).  The students enjoyed morning runs, a few braved the chill of the river and some climbed nearby hills to Rocky Lookout.  They learned of mass casualty triage, altitude medicine, hypothermia, how to improvise to carry patients over rough terrain, some suturing skills, expedition medicine and the development of rural health services in Clutha.  On the Saturday they were joined by Rural Medical Immersion Programme students from the Wairarapa regional teaching centre who presented the programme.


Branko Sijnja

Director Rural Medical Immersion Programme


Rural Medical Immersion Programme (RMIP) takes Matagouri Club to Balclutha

Saturday, May 25th, 2019 | Rory | No Comments

On a pleasant autumn evening on the first of May (May Day) fifty five members of the Matagouri Club motored their way to Balclutha to visit Clutha Health First, have an evening meal and view the Mobile Surgical Services bus.  Amongst the fifty five were forty medical and fifteen dental students. This is an annual event sponsored by RMIP.  Matagouri Club is the rural undergraduate club of the Health Sciences students of University of Otago.  They were presented with the Clutha Health First story by Branko Sijnja who described the community’s efforts to firstly try to save their 120 bed rural hospital and when that proved unsuccessful design a new sustainable community owned model that is now the successful facility occupied by general practices, an inpatient ward, diagnostic services and community services for the people of the Clutha District.

They enjoyed fifty five take away meals lovingly prepared by the Raj Indian Restaurant of Balclutha (no doubt the best Indian Restaurant in New Zealand). Great food, great taste, great portions and great variety.

The RMIP students based in Balclutha escorted the students around the facility and then they visited the Mobile Surgical Services bus which was preparing for an operating list the next day.  A very successful day.

Dr Branko Sijnja | MBChB, FRNZCGP, FNZMA, PGDipObst, PGDipRPHP, PGDipGP | Director Rural Medical Immersion Programme