Vanuatu medical aid to fill C17 Globemaster

Vanuatu medical aid
Ken Riddell, Geoff Smith, Jane Smith, Yale Morgan, Lindsay Ford, Matt Griffiths, Lenn Ray, Adrian Spann, Lloyd Finnis and John Erikson are all part of the crew that has banded together to fly medical aid to Vanuatu.

The Bundaberg community has rallied to fill a B-double truck with medical aid that will fly to Vanuatu in a C17 Globemaster in a project that has been years in the making.

The medical aid initiative has been led by Wantok Foundation, Rotary Club of Bundaberg and Global Care.

Wantok Foundation director Lloyd Finnis said Queensland Health had donated the medical equipment which was no longer needed.

“We’ve stored it here for a long period of time and now it’s time to start moving it over to third world countries where it’s actually needed,” Lloyd said.

“All this gear here is heading over to the outer islands of Vanuatu.”

He said the project would ensure that hospitals in this area had beds and other basic facilities for patients.

“See a lot of the hospitals, the ones that I’ve actually visited in the outer islands, there is no such thing as a hospital bed.

“A lot of the old buildings … patients just lay on a blanket on the floor.

“This will get them up off the floor and make it easier for what nurses they have over there to assist the patients.”

Rotary Club of Bundaberg president Matt Griffiths said they had filled the truck with about 100 beds, crutches, wheelchairs and mattresses.

Vanuatu medical aid
Vanuatu guest workers help to load supplies

“Generally the things you’d find in a hospital ward,” Matt said.

“It’s surplus gear that’s been retired.”

Countless hours have gone in to the Vanuatu medical aid project, with collection, cleaning and today packing it all in to a truck to be delivered to the Royal Australia Air Force (RAAF) base at Amberley.

“We’ve made sure all the equipment is in working order and is all serviceable.

“Some of the local guest workers from Vanuatu helped as well so they’ll feel more of an ownership of it when it gets there as well.”

The medical equipment will be delivered to the Ministry of Health in Vanuata and would be distributed to hospitals and medical facilities.

He said the club appreciated the support of RAAF in delivering the medical supplies to Vanuata.

“They decided to pile the whole lot in to a C17 Globemaster and do it all in one hit.”

Vanuatu medical aid a tradition

Matt said Rotary had a long history of providing aid to Vanuata.

“They have a genuine need and they’ve always been grateful for the support in the past.”

Lloyd said he was passionate about helping the disadvantaged.

“We know that it’s going to good use,” Lloyd said.

“It is helping out the people that really need the help.

“The smile on their face is enough, that’s all you really want.”

The Rotary Club of Bundaberg has also made a significant contribution to a local medical facility.

Matt said to celebrate the club’s 90th anniversary they decided to give a “legacy gift”.

“We donated $5000 to the new aeromedical base for lifeflight and RFDS who have helped out so many of our members and their families over the years.”