156 PACIFIC NURSES FOR COVID-19 SURGE SUPPORT

The Council of Ministers (COM) has approved for Vanuatu to recruit 156 registered nurses from neighboring Pacific countries like Solomon Islands and Fiji and through other agencies, for COVID-19 surge support.

The need for additional human resources and if Vanuatu faces a worst-case scenario, was highlighted by the Director of Curatives and Hospital Services, Dr. Sereana Natuman, in a recent press conference.

Apart from nurses, Vanuatu also need additional support staff and specialists. According to Dr. Natuman, the Vila Central Hospital (VCH) will struggle if there is an influx of COVID-19 patients.

Hospitals in neighboring countries like Fiji and New Caledonia had been overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients in a few days, due to infection surges.

Currently, the Ministry of Health (MOH) is getting VCH ready as part of the National Clinical Preparedness Plan. Additional beds and other resources are needed to manage the load of patients if the worst situation arises.

In its meeting last week, COM also approved an amount of over VT1.3 billion to be allocated for VCH COVID-19 operations.

COM agreed for the government to allocate a VT10 million consultation fee for the design of new hospital building.

These funds are to be kept and managed by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management (MoFEM).

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