First revision to Mental Health Act since 1965 to focus on human rights

An amended Mental Health Act is almost complete. Under the guidance of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Vanuatu’s antique 1965 text is being brought up to date and the final work is expected today. Director of Pubic Health, Len Tarivonda, pointed out to the visiting experts how human rights issues now had to be properly acknowledged. Human rights abuses have been common practice in many communities, he said. Vanuatu does not have a dedicated facility for treating people with mental health issues.

Also in health news: as we first reported back in March, Vanuatu is pioneering the use of drones to deliver vaccines to remote communities. With poorly and irregularly maintained rural road services, Vanuatu will provide a humanitarian testing ground for the technology which in recent years has been most often associated with warfare. Santo will become the principal test centre after early trials in rural Efate.

And a final health story: Vila’s Central Hospital is being upgraded with Australia’s cyclone recovery funding. Just look at the list: repairs to the laboratory and x-ray building, improvements to the operating theatre and increased capacity in the morgue. All original hospital buildings will be re-wired to remove exposed cabling and ensure waterproofing.

Britain’s High Commissioner David Ward, who is based in Honiara, has been visiting and has renewed the contract of our Public Prosecutor, from Fiji, Josiah Naigulevu, another healthy move for Vanuatu, says Justice Minister Warsal. “Vanuatu may be smaller compared to other Melanesian countries, but we have shown that the Rule of Law is the most paramount thing in a democracy.” He continued: ” Vanuatu has proved it in the past two years that the Rule of Law has prevailed in all situations.” It seems everyone is helping us to become more and more healthy. (Daily Post)

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