Nine abattoir workers who participated in the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme donated medical equipment to the Physiotherapy Department of Vila Central Hospital (VCH) on Wednesday this week. The donation included two wheelchairs, three wheeled walkers, four walking frames, two walking sticks, nine pairs of axillary crutches, and six pairs of elbow crutches. Resen Mataou and Nocklam Dick handed over the supplies on behalf of the group to VCH Medical Superintendent, Dr Vincent Atua and Principal Physiotherapist Albert Kaiapam.
The workers travelled to Australia in 2019 and have spent three years working in Scone Facility, a meat factory in the north-west of Newcastle. Before completing their three-year term, they decided to host a fundraising night that included music and string band to raise money for the medical equipment and the container’s freight to transport the items to Vanuatu. The idea was brought up by their team leader, Junior Issachar, and all the group members supported the idea to provide assistance to VCH.
According to Mr. Mataou, there was no motive behind this donation, and the team simply agreed to the idea suggested by their team leader. The workers came from the islands of Epi, Tanna, Ambrym, Malekula, and Maewo, and only two of them returned to Vanuatu last month while the rest are still in Australia.
VCH has a limited supply of these items, and as of yesterday, one wheelchair from the two was given to the Medical Ward and the other to the Surgical Ward.
The VCH Physiotherapy Department expressed their thankfulness to the nine workers and everyone who kindly supported their fundraising efforts. They also stated that they are looking forward to more donations of assistive and mobility devices in the future to help patients mobilise independently.
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