2 May 2011

Hundreds seek help at Pacific Partnership medical clinics in Vanuatu

3:30 pm on 2 May 2011

Hundreds of people on Santo in northern Vanuatu have lined up for free health checks and surgery at Luganville's northern provincial hospital.

The clinics are part of aid offered by the US-led Pacific Partnership humanitarian mission around the region.

Sally Round reports from Luganville

"The crowds were lining up from early in the morning taking advantage of the public holiday to get a checkup. While most wanted their sight or hearing checked or simple reassurance they're okay, others were taken in for surgery on advanced cancer, hernias and serious skin problems. The missions will also hold clinics on remoter areas on Santo as many villagers can't get to hospital due to poor roads and the expense of transport. The hospital's acting medical superintendent says he's grateful for the help but expressed some frustration that lack of funds, trained health professionals and poor infrastructure mean he'll be back to square zero when the mission moves on."