Vanuatu Hospital In Dire Financial Straits: PM Seeks Solution

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ICU may be closed, staff hours may be cut as funds run out

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, July 8, 2014) – Authorities in Vanuatu are looking for ways to reverse a 320,000 US dollar budget deficit at Vila Central Hospital, which local reports say is on the brink of collapse.

The Vanuatu Daily Digest says the Prime Minister, Joe Natuman, met with the Health Minister George Wells and the hospital's new director general, Viran Tovu on Friday to discuss the issue.

It reports the recruitment of new staff and payment irregularities over the last three years means the Ministry has already exhausted its 2014 budget.

[PIR editor’s note: RNZI reported that ‘Vanuatu's Prime Minister has called on relevant government departments to work hand-in-hand to rectify the deteriorating situation at Port Vila's main hospital. … Natuman says the hospital has exhausted its year's budget in only six months, which he blames on the health ministry recruiting increased personnel without following proper procedures.’]

There are reports the Intensive Care Unit may be closed, and doctors and nurses will have to limit their hours of work.

Major extensions to the hospital financed by aid from Japan and opened last month are yet to be used.

The hospital's medical superintendent, Dr Hensley Garae, has said they aim to get the new facility up and running once medical equipment is installed and staffing issues are worked through.

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