28 Jan 2003

New Zealand aid group will build hospital and ship medical supplies to Vanuatu

6:17 pm on 28 January 2003

A hospital on the Vanuatu island of Malekula is to be rebuilt by a New Zealand based Medical Relief Trust.

The Trust's founder, Paul Jeffries, says Auckland hospitals have donated medical equipment and a team of New Zealand builders have volunteered to rebuild the 36-bed village hospital.

Mr Jeffries set up the trust after watching a television documentary last year about a New Zealand doctor and his work in remote Vanuatu villages.

He says he was disturbed to see patients dying of easily curable diseases in rundown hospitals with no equipment and no drugs.

Mr Jeffries says he's signed a Memorandum of Understanding to allow the trust to work in Malekula with the Vanuatu government.

"The only thing that we're really asking the Vanuatu government for is for clearing the way for import duties so that when we bring materials in we are not hit with excessive import duties. We have acquired allot of equipment like forty hydraulic beds, blood centrifuges, wheelchairs and crutches and the like which I mean they just don't have. I've had response from five builders in New Zealand who have said, look we will come over and donate our time."