Medic bus boost for Cooks

Wairarapa News - - FRONT PAGE - ILLYA MCLEL­LAN

A Master­ton Ro­tary group is on a mis­sion to give Raro­tonga a mo­bile med­i­cal fa­cil­ity to re­place 27 vil­lage med­i­cal cen­tres that ser­vice many of the is­land’s 13,000 peo­ple.

A re­fur­bished Tranzit Coach­lines bus will pro­vide ba­sic med­i­cal care for chil­dren, adults, dis­abled peo­ple and the el­derly but also health ed­u­ca­tion, blood donor ser­vices, an­te­na­tal checks and non-com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­ease aware­ness pro­grammes.

The pur­chase and fit-out of the bus is ex­pected to cost about $160,000 which will be paid for by Master­ton South Ro­tary Club and other Ro­tary clubs from around New Zealand as well as Ro­tary In­ter­na­tional.

Med­i­cal equip­ment has also been do­nated by the Wairarapa District Health Board.

The Cook Is­lands Min­istry of Health is in the process of up­grad­ing its ser­vices and had planned to re­vamp and ren­o­vate 27 vil­lage med­i­cal clin­ics dot­ted around the main is­land of Raro­tonga.

Act­ing di­rec­tor of com­mu­nity health Valentino Wich­man said they were very en­thu­si­as­tic about the project and the boost the bus would give to their health ser­vices.

‘‘It makes things ac­ces­si­ble to peo­ple who might not be able to travel and will also go out to schools which are a big fo­cus of our work now, mak­ing sure the chil­dren are pre­pared for the fu­ture.

‘‘It will help cut costs but also im­prove the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion, we are def­i­nitely ex­cited about it. It will com­ple­ment ex­ist­ing ser­vices and make a real dif­fer­ence.’’

Master­ton South Ro­tary Club mem­ber Rob Ir­win said the club had been look­ing for a project when it learned the Raro­tonga Ro­tary Club was as­sist­ing with the up­grade of the is­lands’ med­i­cal cen­tres.

They de­cided pro­vid­ing a bus would solve the prob­lem with far less cost and ef­fort.

Ir­win and club mem­bers David Baker and Paul Snel­grove went to Raro­tonga in April and met with health of­fi­cials and the Ro­tary club who were ex­cited by the bus idea.

Snel­grove is man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Tranzit Coach­lines and of­fered to pro­vide and fit-out a bus at cost price.

Ir­win said the driv­ing force be­hind the project had been Baker who had re­ally pushed things along and kept the mo­men­tum up.

The Cook Is­lands Min­istry of Health is fo­cus­ing on pro­vid­ing health ed­u­ca­tion for chil­dren and the bus will be vi­tal in spread­ing the mes­sage.

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