The founding group of Pacific Islands Health and Education Limited (PIHEL) had previously established Medical Santo in Vanuatu (click the “Medical Santo” button above for more information), and in 2019 decided to substantially increase the scope and reach of their charity work to include a wider range of health services, broaden the base of the financial support, build modern infrastructure and address long term sustainability through the development of education and training pathways. Pacific Islands Health and Education Limited was established to provide the vehicle to achieve those outcomes.
Our Health and Education services are available to all Pacific Islands people and visitors to those islands who are in need of medical assistance, suffering from acute or chronic illness, critically injured or disabled, remote or isolated, disadvantaged or in poverty regardless of race, colour, citizenship status, poverty, national origin, ancestry, gender, age, religion, creed, physical or mental disability, marital status, veteran status, political affiliation, or any other factor.
PIHEL will maintain Medical Santo as a prime focus for its work in the Pacific Islands and is extremely grateful for the continuing generosity of Churches of Christ in Queensland who are supporting us in this most important work.
Medical Santo History:
This brief history is included for your interest. For more comprehensive information please visit the Medical Santo website (click button above).
The team that first conceived of establishing charitable medical services in the Pacific Islands involved those who had spent significant time as volunteers in Vanuatu and local Ni-Vanuatu leaders committed to improving health outcomes for their communities. All were members of church congregations affiliated with Churches of Christ in Queensland Australia (CofCQ) and Vanuatu Churches of Christ.
Churches of Christ in Australia’s involvement in providing medical services in Vanuatu has been significant for over 100 years. The history of the Vanuatu Churches of Christ includes Ni-Vanuatu pioneers who returned to Pentecost Island from the cane fields of the Bundaberg region of Queensland in 1902, and from those pioneering days, the Churches of Christ in Vanuatu has grown and maintained its close partnership with CofCQ up to the present time. That partnership with Queensland churches and indeed many churches throughout Australia, enabled and supported the development of Hospitals and Medical services throughout the North of Vanuatu over a number of years. On the islands of Pentecost, Ambae and Maewo, significant infrastructure was developed including fully functional operating theatres, x-ray suits and nurse training schools. Unfortunately all have been subject to the resource limitations the Government has encountered since taking these facilities over after independence. It is important to acknowledge that Church of Christ Conference leaders in Vanuatu have been at the forefront of the call to find a partnering solution to the desperate need for improving health outcomes for their communities.
The commitment of the founding members to do whatever was necessary to make a real difference was based on the situation for the 145,000 people of the Northern Islands of Vanuatu who had no way of accessing the care they needed. Over the years leading up to 2011, the Vanuatu Government realised the severity of the health services situation but also that despite its commitment and hard work to make improvements, it was unable to provide the resources and management needed to make the significant difference they wanted to achieve. On that basis the Government was keen to actively engage partners in the supply of Health Services in Vanuatu as they had done in the past, In 2011 they began a process of encouraging Churches and other charity/NFP organisations to once again get involved with the hope that this would form the foundation for long term solutions.
During 2011 a couple from Buderim in Queensland, as a legacy of their long commitment to supporting the work of the Churches in Vanuatu and their personal involvement with Ni-Vanuatu people who were desperately in need of medical care, started having conversations with senior leaders of the Churches of Christ Conference in Vanuatu, Government officials and committed community members about what could be done.
The couple started investigating how a viable solution might be achieved. They drew together three families from Australia and one family from Vanuatu who all committed to work together to make a difference. They decided they would endeavour to put in place whatever was necessary to transform the lives of people who were suffering from medical conditions and broader health issues and who had no way of accessing the care they needed.
In a single week in Vanuatu, 26 meetings with organisations, government agencies and influential people were held. The confirmation of the extent of the need was overwhelming and all encouraged the group to proceed. The concept of developing a Medical Clinic and preventive health strategies for the northern areas of Vanuatu emerged as critical.The team successfully applied to the Vanuatu Government and on the 4th September 2012 Churches of Christ Medical Santo Committee Inc. became a registered Charitable Association, Not For Profit with business registration.
Churches of Christ in Queensland fully supported the team and facilitated the purchase of a building and thanks to the work of many Australian and Ni-Vanuatu volunteers, and generous gifts from organisations like the Queensland Ambulance Service the Medical Santo Clinic became a reality. The clinic officially opened for business on the 23rd May 2013.