The Ministry of Health (MOH) is set to recruit the first batch of nurses from Solomon Islands by mid-July this year, if their contracts are approved by the Public Service Commission (PSC) in time.
Director General (DG) of the MOH, George Taleo, confirmed to Kizzy Kalsakau from 96 Buzz FM’s Nightly News that some officials from the MOH are in Honiara since last week to begin the recruitment progress.
“Vanuatu will be getting around 20 Solomon nurses in the initial phase, which will commence once the Vanuatu health officials return from Honiara. The next and final phase will be rolled out beginning of next year.
“The recruitment of Solomon nurses will fill the huge retirement gap left in the health sector since 2017,” he stressed.
Currently, there are fewer nurses in Vanuatu because the Vanuatu College of Nursing Education (VCNE) produces only 30 nurses each year, said the DG.
“However, there are plans to expand the Vanuatu College of Nursing Education to boost enrollment. Expanding the Nursing College enrollment will ensure sufficient nurse staffing in the next decade.
“We are hoping to phase out recruiting nurses from abroad by 2025,” he said.
The issue of nurse staff shortage is a national issue but the issue is extremely significant in rural areas, said DG Taleo.
“The Solomon nurses will be working at the Port Vila Hospital, provincial and rural facilities too,” he said.
“This is not the first time for Vanuatu to recruit nurses from Solomon Islands.
“The first recruitment was in 2012. We can confirm that the Solomon nurses are doing a great job serving in the remote areas.”
According to the DG, the MOH has requested over Vt180 million through the Council of Ministers (COM) to hire over 70 Solomon nurses as part of the whole batch.