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Improved communication for Vanuatu’s provincial health care workers

Health care workers in the provinces of Tafea, Shefa and Sanma will have access to mobile phone and monthly phone credits to better strengthen health system reporting of Neglected Tropical Disease and other public Health issues in Vanuatu.

The communication support to Ministry of Health (MOH) has been made possible through funding by the Takeda Global Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Programme under the Pacific Integrated NTDs Elimination or PINE project and stewarded by Bridges to Development in the fight against various skin diseases such as Scabies, Yaws and Leprosy in the Pacific.

In 2022 health care workers in three provinces were trained to strengthen their capabilities to identify, diagnose, treat and report skin diseases through Integrated Skin Diseases (ISD) management approach. The training ensured that patients with skin diseases are given appropriate treatment and for health care workers to facilitate follow-up of patients and fulfill timely reports of skin diseases, there is need to improve communication support across all levels of health facilities.

The provision of mobile phones and monthly credits for mobile users in the Ministry of Health will greatly enhance the health system reporting not only for skin diseases but other areas of   public health communication also.

The health care workers will be identified to receive mobile phones in these three provinces based on their reporting performances while monthly phone credits will be deployed to all health care workers in the three provinces to encourage peer to peer communication support and regular skin diseases report through the ISD Messenger platform which was established in 2022.

The PINE project confirmed that they will continue to provide funding to the NTDs program of the Ministry of Health for the next three years with the aim to eliminate Scabies, Yaws and Leprosy by 2028.

Vanuatu was the first Pacific island nation to eliminate Trachoma and Lymphatic filariasis with funding support by WHO, Queens Jubilee funding, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and Fred Hallows Foundation.

Photo supplied Caption: Dr. Thyna Orelly of the Ministry of Health receives mobile phone devices from local PINE consultant, George Taleo, and Prudence Rymill, National NTD Coordinator at the MoH, on behalf of Bridges to Development.