AUSAID FUNDS EXPANSION OF VANUATU NURSING SCHOOL

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New facilities to meet greater demand for trained nurses

By Thompson Marango

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, April 2, 2012) – Vanuatu College for Nursing Education (VCNE) has marked a milestone achievement last week with the laying of the Foundation Stone for its Vatu 32 million [US$349,727] expansion project funded by Australian Aid.

Under the VCNE Expansion Project the centre will receive, as part of a two stage program, two new classrooms, each capable of holding 35 students, a new practical room for 4 stations to be taught simultaneously and new ablution blocks including laundry areas to support the growing roll.

The second stage will focus on the medical teaching aids and biomedical equipment required in order to supplement training courses and also look at development of other physical infrastructure such as communal eating areas and expansions of library resources and staff offices.

According to Prime Minister Sato Kilman who is current Health Minister, the construction of facilities assistance will address Vanuatu’s growing need for well trained nurses to support Vanuatu’s growing population and medical needs.

"The construction of the facility was to strengthen the capacity of health personnel through the reform of the VCNE," said Minister Kilman.

"Originally built for the existing roll of 16 students the roll soon swelled with the introduction of a further 28 students in 2009, filling classrooms and practical rooms alike.

"In a short time frame there has been an increase in requirement to output a greater numbers of professional nurses, particularly to support routine medical service delivery in rural and remote areas."

He said this year the landscape is very different from 2009 for the staff of VCNE with the roll confirmed at 109 students.

With the very important development the Prime Minister acknowledged Australia as a major development partner who has allocated over Vt 32 million towards construction and equipment acquisition activities to be conducted over the next 15 months.

He described the Project as unique in some aspects because of the work and coordination that has occurred over the last 9 months before the Foundation Ceremony.

With the approval of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the Police Commissioner, Vanuatu Mobile Force Engineers were used as the contractors of the project. The project was also supported by the integration of low-risk detainees on construction activities managed by the VMF Engineers.

Therefore the Prime Minister said the symbology for the "Foundation Stone" is that it is a stable block on which to build upon, unwavering and unbreakable, whether a physical or psychological nature."

"It could be for the future education of nurses through provision of additional facilities and sustained specialist support, technical trade training for members of our Police Force to international standards, rehabilitation of those serving terms in our Correctional Centers to develop self-worth or just to provide an example to others in Government Departments as to how concentrated effort and focused direction can achieve common goals."

The VCNE is looking forward to seeing the graduation of 22 nurses in July and 28 nurses in December of this year with a further 32 second year students and 27 first year students following behind their peers.

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