8 Jun 2006

Vanuatu opens its new tuberculosis isolation ward at Port Vila hospital

10:58 am on 8 June 2006

There are expectations that a tuberculosis isolation ward at Port Vila Central hospital will dramatically cut the incidence of the disease in Vanuatu.

The ward, built by Rotary volunteers from New Zealand and Port Vila, was opened yesterday by the New Zealand Foreign Minister, Winston Peters.

New Zealander, Ron King, of Rotary International's World Community Programme, says they were asked to help after it was learnt that the hospital had to put TB patients in general wards in close proximity to other patients, or sometimes had to send them home before their treatment was completed.

He says 48 New Zealanders volunteered their skills and time to help local volunteers build the hospital.

Since a similar isolation ward was built in Santo eight years, also with the Rotary International help, the incidence of TB on that island has dropped by 50 percent.