THE SECOND batch of nurses, 43 in total left the country on Monday to take up new jobs in Vanuatu.
They are being recruited by the Vanuatu Government.
Most of them will spend two years under their contracts, working in various clinics and hospitals around Vanuatu.
They will join the 28 nurses that were recruited in July this year.
The majority of the 43 were senior and long serving nurses at the National Referral Hospital (NRH).
Their departure has left a huge gap for the medical service in the country.
Speaking to this paper prior to their departure yesterday, one nurses Lovelyn Justus, who used to work at the NRH’s Emergency Unit, said most of them are senior and experienced nurses.
“We have signed up for the Vanuatu recruitment because of the good package provided by the Vanuatu government,” Justice said.
“We are so happy to go out there and help the people of Vanuatu as our theme for the recruitment is ‘Answering the Call’ and we have a good team and qualified team in this recruitment and I hope we can deliver to the expectations of the Vanuatu government in terms of performance,” she added.
“We are well experienced staff from various departments like Theater department, Children’s department, Emergency department and Primary health care.”
Justus said the main reason for this big number of nurses going out is because of the low pay rates for senior nurses in our country.
“This opportunity given to us by the Vanuatu government is because of the much better package they’ve offered.
“These include the welfare of our families,’’ she said.
She added that most of the senior staff have been serving in the country for more than 10 years but they are still paid under the public service’s level 5, which is very low compared to what Vanuatu offered them.
Justice also said the Vanuatu Nurse recruitment will continue until the end of this year. So another batch is expected then.
The recruitment of local nurses will fill the huge retirement gap left in Vanuatu’s health sector since 2017.
Earlier this year, the Vanuatu’s Director General (DG) of the Ministry of Health (MOH) George Taleo revealed that currently there are fewer nurses in Vanuatu because the Vanuatu College of Nursing Education (VCNE) produces only 30 nurses each year.
According to the DG, Vanuatu’s MOH has requested over Vt180 million (US$1.5 million) through the Council of Ministers (COM) to hire Solomon Islands nurses to Vanuatu.
By BRYAN LUVENA