Vanuatu conference 2017


An exceptional meeting was held between the Vanuatu Medical and Dental Association (VMDA) and the Gold Coast Medical Association (GCMA) from Thursday 21 to Saturday 23 September 2017 at the Warwick Resort Port Vila, Efate Island, Vanuatu.  One hundred and fourty five delegates attended the Friday 22 September conference program.  Fifty delegates were doctors from Australia (mainly Gold Coast) and ninety five delegates were doctors and nurses from Vanuatu. 

Over eighty delegates and their families attended the opening ceremony and welcome reception on Thursday evening overlooking the beautiful lagoon surrounding the Warwick Resort.  The conference was opened by the Acting Minister for Health in Vanuatu (The Honourable Seule Simion and the First Political Advisor for Ministry of Health Malwyn Kalsau Niptik).  Dr Nelson Tangwha  (president of VMDA) and Dr Sonu Haikerwal (president of the GMCA) responded to the minister’s speech 

The Friday conference program opened with three powerful presentations on future directions for health services in Vanuatu by our plenary speakers Prof. Stephen Leeder, Mr John Jovi (Vanuatu Ministry of Health) and Prof. Roger Smith. 

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A full day of twin parallel program presentations covering a wide range of clinical topics followed.  Both local Vanuatu and overseas speakers featured  in these sessions.  

Friday night was marked by a joyous conference dinner with local musical, fire dance, and sand drawing entertainment.  One hundred and twenty delegates and their families enjoyed this function.  

On Saturday morning, twenty-five visiting delegates were treated to a tour of the Port Vila Hospital and Clinics under the guidance of Dr Sale Vurobaravu our conference co-convener.  During this time, Prof Peter Jones and Dr Don Pitchford led workshops for junior Vanuatu doctors in pediatric resuscitation and orthopedic management of fractures respectively.  

A high degree of interaction developed between Vanuatu and Australian delegates.  This bodes well for future cooperation between our professions.  

The conference was much appreciated by all delegates.  A summary of comments follows:

Content and lecture topics were pertinent and highly regarded by participants.  Nurses were very pleased to be included.  Further opportunities for networking and continued collegial interactions and knowledge sharing between the Australian and NiVan doctors was suggested and endorsed.  A potential fundraising program for Port Vila Hospital equipment and facilities was also discussed.

The venue was excellent.  Many delegates and their families extended their stay to enjoy the Warwick Resort and the tourist experiences of Vanuatu.

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The exceptional success for this meeting in no small part is due to the marvelous contribution of our Vanuatu co-convener, Dr Sale Vurobaravuand his organizing committee (Dr Basil Leodora,Dr Nelson Tangwha, and others).  We also acknowledge the generous endorsement and sponsorship of the Ministry of Health.

I would like to sincerely thank our GCMA conference committee for their exceptional efforts: Dr Lis Weinstein (conference manager), Dr Stephen Weinstein (scientific program director), Dr Ka-Kiu Cheung, Chantell Badenhorst, and Carole Morris.  

It has been a privilege and a joy to be involved in such a worthwhile endeavour.