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Destinations

Vila Central Hospital, Vanuatu

Hospital:

Vila Central is the main hospital in Vila, the capital of Vanuatu. Placements can also be arranged in smaller hospitals on surrounding islands such as Ambae, Malekula, and Santos.

Location:

Vanuatu is a group of islands in the South Pacific. Vila is located on the largest of the islands, Efate.

Country:

Although a well known tourist destination with major beach resorts catering for foreigners, Vanuatu is a developing country which has major unmet health care needs.

Medical Experience:

The major medical specialities are represented at the hospital. I worked in anaesthetics, but there were overseas doctors working in disciplines such as paediatrics, infectious diseases, internal medicine, obstetrics, and surgery. It may also be possible to work as a generalist doctor in one of the smaller peripheral hospitals.

Hospital Facilities:

Vila Central Hospital has 2 main operating theatres with basic ventilators and monitors. Most equipment was donated, and of variable quality. There was a reasonable range of anaesthetic drugs. In terms of other facilities, when I was there (2001) there was, for example, no CT scanner.

Major duties:

Depends entirely on level of experience, sub-speciality, and staff preference. For doctors of appropriate seniority, there may be an opportunity to teach.

Working hours:

Variable. On-call may be required.

Accommodation:

There are rooms for medical students which may be made available to volunteers by special request, but no accommodation can be guaranteed. Ex-pat house-sitting or room-letting may be possible, but would need to be arranged privately through individual contacts.

Food:

There is a staff cafeteria serving basic, standard fare.

Hospital staff:

One (Ausaid) anaesthetist was present during my stay, these positions are subject to variable turnover.

Language:

The local language is Bislama, working knowledge of this language is invaluable. There are in-country tutors available. I arranged tutoring through AVI, but it may be possible to organise this after arrival. French and English are variably understood by hospital staff, however cannot be relied on for communication.

Town facilities:

Vila has all the facilities one would expect of a major tourist destination including internet cafes, and banks (although I can't recall any ATMs).

Getting There:

Vila has an international airport with regular flights from Australia.

Travel:

Travel around the island is very worthwhile, but is best arranged through local contacts.

Hospital contact:

I cannot suggest anyone in particular as the contacts I had have now left!

My contact details:

If you would like to make contact, please email contact@medicineuncharted.org and we will pass your message on.
I can send further information as required.

Other Comments:

I arranged this anaesthetic placement through the Ausaid anaesthetist who was there at the time. I would suggest contacting Ausaid first, or AVI to enquire about a suitable contact. Alternatively, ask through your local department about Australians they know working in Vanuatu. It may be difficult to arrange such a placement directly with the hospital, or the ministry of health, in the first instance.