Calvary Bruce Private delivers life-changing surgery for Vanuatu’s Habib Sakama Tom

Habib Sakama Tom could not hide his smile when walking, with a little support from crutches, out the doors of Calvary Bruce Private Hospital. The 17-year-old from Tanna Island in Vanuatu is less than two weeks into recovery following a complete hip replacement – an uncommon procedure for someone so young.

“I feel very good and very excited about the future,” Habib said.

Habib’s Story

Three years ago, Habib was left with life-altering injuries after falling into a hole.

“Habib fell while playing and his hip landed on a rock, completely fracturing it. Ever since, he hasn’t been able to walk to school and can’t play with the other kids. He has just had to stay at home because he has been in so much pain,” Habib’s father, Bertrand Sakama Tom, said.

Living in a developing country, with limited access to speciality medical services, Habib was facing a life with limited mobility and pain. However, his future is looking a lot brighter thanks to Rotary Oceania Medical Aid for Children (ROMAC) and Calvary.

Habib and his father flew to Australia several weeks ago after he was approved to undergo a full hip replacement at Calvary Bruce Private Hospital. It is a procedure he would not have been able to have in Vanuatu.

“The surgery was done very well. Habib is now pain free and not even two weeks post-surgery he could be off his crunches if he wanted to be. After this is healed you probably won’t even be able to see the scar.” Professor Paul Miniter, Calvary Bruce Private Orthopaedic Surgeon, said.


For the staff who helped during the surgery, seeing Habib’s smile reaffirms why they do what they do.

“Meeting Habib almost a month ago now and seeing Habib today and how happy he is makes you realise how we’ve changed that boy’s life,” Jodie Murray, Calvary Bruce Private Hospital Director of Clinical Services, said.

“To be able to give this boy back his mobility and get rid of his pain is pretty amazing. It is why we do orthopaedic surgery,” Professor Miniter added.

Calvary is proud to partner with organisations such as ROMAC to ensure patients like Habib get the care they need.  

Over the coming weeks, Habib will focus on his recovery and have another appointment with Dr Miniter before returning to home and school in Vanuatu, where he dreams of one day becoming a doctor.