NZ funded ‘Mobile Panel Doctor’ to address medical examinations for Vanuatu RSE workers

‘Northern Provincial Hospital’ has launched a new health service initiative called Mobile Panel Doctor, today in Luganville (on Santo).

The Vanuatu Mobile Panel Doctor Pilot is part of the New Zealand technical assistance provided under the ‘Strengthening Pacific Partnerships’ initiative, to build the capacity of Vanuatu to effectively manage and operate the health component of the ‘Recognised Seasonal Employer’ programme in Vanuatu.

The service has a Digital Xray and e-Medical resource for the northern provinces of Vanuatu, and is opened by Minister of Health Honorable Jerome Ludvaune and Mr. Jeongmin Park, the NZ Deputy High Commissioner, witnessed by Luganville Mayor Honorable Onen Gavika and NPH Medical Superintendent, Dr. Andy Ilo.

Vanuatu provides approximately 3,500 of the 10,500 RSE scheme workers that come to New Zealand each year these workers come from a number of different islands across the Vanuatu archipelago, many of whom require an ‘Immigration Medical Examination’ as part of their visa application.

All ‘Immigration New Zealand’ Panel Physicians are located in Port Vila due to the aligned panel physician network requirements and the facilities available outside of Port Villa being limited.

Hence in July 2016, following a conversation between ‘New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Association’ and INZ, the concept of the panel physician traveling to an outer island to undertake medicals was discussed.

In September 2016, a Mobile Panel Doctor Pilot was conducted to test the viability of a Panel Doctor travelling from Port Vila to Luganville to conduct an IME on RSE workers.

The pilot was run as a result of the generosity of the NZKGA to acquire and donate digital radiology equipment to the Vanuatu ‘Ministry of Health’ for placement into the hospital on Santo at the conclusion of the Pilot assessment.

The assessment of the technology equipment and the process was successful, giving confidence to the INZ project team of the success of the Pilot, and its readiness to be roll out for the commencement of this coming RSE season.