Vila Central Hospital (VCH) was the recipient of medical supplies from New Zealand this week.

New Zealand (NZ) High Commissioner to Vanuatu, Johnathan Schwass, officially handed the medical supplies to Dr. Vincent Atua, who is in charge of the Emergency Department (ED).

Dr. Atua explained the supplies will be allocated to the various VCH departments.

“This container took almost two months to arrive here, and now I have in my hands the list of the items,” he said.

“Some of the medical supplies will go the Surgical Ward, Medical Ward, Emergency Ward and the VCH Pharmacy.”

Commissioner Schwass affirmed the New Zealand Government’s interest to help Pacific Islanders amidst the COVID-19 crisis.

“In this pandemic, everyone needs help,” he said. “Vanuatu needs helps, NZ needs help. So, it is important that all countries support each other at this time.”

The Commissioner mentioned the agencies who contributed to the donation.

“The medical supplies donated are part of a joint initiative by the NZ Medical Treatment Scheme (NZMTS) and the ‘Take My Hands’ organisation in NZ,” he said.

“This organisation collects usable medical equipment and resources that can no longer be used in NZ and redistributes them to organisations that work with those in need in the Asia Pacific Region and the NZ government. We hope these supplies will be of use at the VCH.”

The NZMTS aims to assist Pacific island countries to provide their citizens with access to specialised medical treatment. It comprises two components: The Overseas Referral Scheme (ORS); and Visiting Medical Specialists (VMS).

The items donated included both reusable medical equipment and brand-new equipment.

‘Take My Hands’ organisation provided reusable medical equipment, resources and fund the logistics for these items.

The NZMTS funded the container to ship the items in, and the new equipment. These new equipments were purchased at the request of senior clinicians at VCH. A total of 288 individual pieces were donated.

These include: 9 assorted medical supply boxes, 6 Colostomy sets and material assorted (box), 1 blood pressure monitor, 40 crutches, 5 diagnostic sets, 2 instrument trollies, 21 Pacific Clean products (5L jugs) and other essential items.

The NZ government has also provided two doctors to serve at the Northern Provincial Hospital (NPH) in Luganville, Santo as part of the medical support during the COVID-19 crisis.

Dr. Atua acknowledged the NZ government for their help, saying this donation is a good example of an ongoing partnership between the two governments. He added it is one of the many components of the medical assistances VCH has received from NZ.

“NZ has helped in many other forms, such as assisting with referrals of patients to NZ for special care, trainings and volunteers,” he said.

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