To celebrate the annual World Health Day in the 75th anniversary year of the World Health Organisation, we speak with Australia Awards Vanuatu alumnus Dr Sereana Natuman, Director of Hospitals and Curative Services within the Government of Vanuatu Ministry of Health. Dr Sereana has provided Australia Awards Vanuatu (AAV) with an insight into Vanuatu’s contributions towards improving public health, particularly post Covid-19 and the most recent tropical cyclones; Judy and Kevin. AAV also hears about what inspired Dr Sereana to complete a Master of Internal Medicine at the Fiji School of Medicine as an Australia Awards Scholarship recipient.
“Prior to undertaking my Master degree, I observed the limited diagnostic resources and a very small number of physicians in Vanuatu. This is what motivated me to further my knowledge and ability to provide patient diagnosis and improve quality of life” Dr Sereana explains.
During the past ten years Dr Sereana has watched the public health system in Vanuatu improve dramatically, “we now have a larger amount of qualified ni-Vanuatu doctors and nurses, including those working in subspecialist areas, and our emergency department continues to upskill staff for evolving emergency care,” she further explains.
As the Director of Hospitals and Curative Services, Dr Sereana’s role encompasses the oversight of hospitals throughout Vanuatu’s provinces. In this role, Dr Sereana manages the hospital’s needs and requests and prioritizes the welfare of staff. Focusing on improving the quality of healthcare by providing more services and strengthening those already in place, Dr Sereana also actively works as a physician.
Dr Sereana’s vision in the coming years is for a new Vila Central Hospital structure to be built according to the specialist needs and wants, that can then be used as a blueprint for hospitals within the other provinces. Dr Sereana also hopes to see more specialists in the profession, that can then be used to provide further training through outreach programs on the outer islands. This will ensure knowledge is maintained and fosters an evolving profession whilst also setting a national standard of healthcare.