This procedure, if it works, will be good news for the Cook Islands, one of the most obese nations in the world.
The Cook Islands is the first in the Pacific to undergo this procedure which reduces the size of stomach using an endoscopic suturing device without the need for surgery.
Usually, this procedure costs $6000 per case, but it will be delivered at zero cost for the Cook Islands.
Medical specialist and visiting surgeon from New Zealand Dr John Dunn said they had screened 10 candidates who had been selected to undergo Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty.
“We can’t operate on the whole population, but on some lucky individuals. In this procedure, we remove large part of the stomach which is not appropriate here as you need more intensive set up,” Dunn said.
“It’s a new procedure, Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty is making the stomach wall smaller. “It helps people eat less, recovery is shorter, not a lot of pain, and normalcy returns quickly.”
Dunn said only about 6000 procedures have been done in the whole world, and about 60 in New Zealand.
He said he hopes the procedure is successful here.
“Complications could be bleeding. There is mortality associated with it however it’s safer.”
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) among the top 10 most obese countries globally, nine are Pacific Islands.
Dunn said obesity is a big problem in the Cook Islands and the only way to lose weight is to eat a lot less. He blamed the obesity problem here to the “kaikai culture”.
Dunn said the solution to this is to change the “kaikai culture”, which is to change what people eat. This includes refrain from eating heavy carbohydrate food such as rice, bread, noodles and stop sugar drinks, he added.
“There is a culture of over eating here. Too much of the wrong food which are heavy in carbohydrates are consumed.”
Dunn said losing weight is difficult for some people and obesity is a major health problem.
“The only thing that really resets that is surgery, this surgery helps you eat less.”