A total of 292 nurses serving in health facilities throughout Vanuatu are now in the new staff structure of the Ministry of Health, bringing to an end a decade-long wait during which the nurses endured failed promises-after-promises.
At a ceremony on the grounds of the Ministry of Health complex in Port Vila Tuesday, the Chairman of the Public Service Commission (PSC), Martin Mahe, handed over envelopes containing the transfer letters of the nurses into the new structure to the Minister of Health, Jerome Ludvaune.
Mr. Ludvaune, then handed the envelopes to the responsible officers, including the Director of Hospitals and Curative Services, Dr. Willie Tokon, for the health costs centres throughout the country.
These are Shefa and Vila Central Hospital, Torba Province, Penama Province, Sanma and Northern Provincial Hospital, Malampa Province and Tafea Province and these people will deliver the letters to the nurses under them.
In his speech, Mr. Mahe said 101 nurses are not yet transferred to the new structures because they are not yet registered.
Dr. Willie Tokon appealed to those concerned to make every effort to complete the registration process so that they can be transferred under the new structure, which would make a total of 303 nurses altogether in the new structure.
The Chairman of PSC confirmed that the 292 nurses who were receiving their letters of transfer to the new structure would be paid their new salary level this government payday, which is tomorrow and the new salary would be backdated to when the new salaries were made effective.
The new salaries were to have been paid beginning the last payday. But due to some technical difficulties these were not possible causing a near strike action by nurses at the health centers including the VCH, which was only averted when they were promised they would be paid tomorrow.
Those covered in this transfer are registered nurses, midwives and nurse practitioners.
The second phase will see doctors and allied staff transferred followed by Corporate Services staff of the Ministry of Health. Everyone transferred will serve a six-month probation before being confirmed under the new structure and new salary scale.
It was a happy day Tuesday afternoon at the ceremony with smiles all round from about 100 nurses from VCH and Shefa rural health, the Minister of Health and the staff of the ministry and the Chairman and staff of the PSC gathered to witness the handing over of the letters of those transferred already.
The representative of the nurses, Honore Mauris, the matron of the VCH, thanked the Government, the Minister of Health, the Director General, George Taleo, the Chairman and the PSC, and the Minister of Finance and his staff for their hard work and effective collaboration in finally completing this long awaited development. He paid tribute to the patience of their members and those who died waiting without seeing the outcome nurses were now seeing.