4 Mar 2006

France says dependencies need to catch up on health services

9:07 am on 4 March 2006

The French overseas territories minister, Francois Baroin, has urged the dependencies to catch up on health services.

Mr Baroin says the territories must learn the lessons of an epidemic of the mosquito-borne disease, chikungunya, which is badly affecting the Indian Ocean territory of Reunion.

Now in New Caledonia, Mr Baroin has indicated he'll visit a hospital there as part of his five-day visit, in order to see what are the territory's health priorities.

The central hospital in New Caledonia has some dilapidated buildings, which forced the closure of a hundred bed wards several months ago owing to security.

Construction costs for a new building are factored into new development contracts to cover state aid to New Caledonia over the next four years.