THE first batch of 28 local nurses recruited by the Vanuatu Government jetted out of the country on Monday to take up their new jobs.
Most of them will spend two years under a contract working in various clinics and hospitals around Vanuatu.
The recruitment of local nurses will fill the huge retirement gap left in Vanuatu’s health sector since 2017.
Currently, there are fewer nurses in Vanuatu because the Vanuatu College of Nursing Education (VCNE) produces only 30 nurses each year, Vanuatu’s Director General (DG) of the Ministry of Health (MOH) George Taleo revealed.
The issue of nurse staff shortage is a national issue in Vanuatu but the issue is extremely significant in rural areas, said DG Taleo.
This is not the first time for Vanuatu to recruit nurses from Solomon Islands. The first recruitment was in 2012.
Mr Taleo added the Solomon nurses are doing a great job serving in the remote areas.
According to the DG, Vanuatu’s MOH has requested over Vt180 million (US$1.5 million) through the Council of Ministers (COM) to hire over 70 Solomon nurses as part of the whole batch.
The next and final phase is expected to be rolled out beginning of next year.
Meanwhile, Thomas Hillary a young nurse who joined the first group of nurses to travel to Vanuatu yesterday said he was so excited to finally head off to Vanuatu and help the people there.
Mr. Hillary, a 23 year old young nurse from Reef islands, Temotu will be posted to Nunugu hospital in Santo.
Speaking to the paper prior to his departure yesterday he said: “I want to thank the Government of Vanuatu for accepting my application to be part of the recruitment and be able to help the people of Vanuatu since they are in need of medical officers to fill the gap of nursing shortage.
Despite being young in the field Mr Hillary hopes this is a best move for him to take up the challenge to experience work outside of country.
Mr. Hillary, a Diploma graduate from Atoifi Adventist School of Nursing in 2016 has been working at the Pediatric Department at Atiofi Adventist Hospital for the past two years.
He was accepted to do his Bachelor in Nursing studies at the Solomon Islands National University (SINU) this year but decided to join the Vanuatu recruitment program.
By BRYAN LUVENA