• Aaron Hilliker posted an article
    Volunteer Nhia talks about her work with her community. see more

    Author: Peace Corps Volunteer Nhia

    Source: The Daily Post

    Published: December 3rd, 2019

    In Brief: Volunteer Nhia talks about her work with the mamas in her community. Commenting on Non-communicable diseases in Vanuatu. From the Article:

    "As Peace Corps health volunteers in Vanuatu, it’s not always easy to determine what our role in the communities we serve are but let me show you a picture of the state of health in the Pacific and particularly, Vanuatu.

    Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are chronic diseases, tend to be of long duration and are the result of a combination of genetic, physiological, environmental and behaviors factors. They include cardiovascular diseases, e.g. high blood pressure and heart attack, to cancers, chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma and COPD, and diabetes. NCDs have become a challenging issue not just affecting health and developed nations but is on the rise as an international epidemic, especially hitting hard the developing world and lower-income populations.

    The Pacific region, which is only home to a quarter of the world’s population and includes Vanuatu, houses some of the highest rates of an overweight population, from more than 50% to as high as 90% of the population. In the Pacific it is responsible for 80% of all deaths and 40% of the population has been diagnosed with NCDs. In Vanuatu specifically, it accounts for 70% of all deaths and cardiovascular diseases accounts for over 1/3 of all total death of all ages. In a study done in 2013, only 5% of adult females and 10% of adult males were free of any of the preventable risk factors for acquiring NCDs.

    Atchin is a community comprised of over 20 villages with a population of over 2,000 peoples. In relation to the country statistics for NCDs, Atchin is relatively low but as my counterpart pointed out, its most likely due to undiagnosed cases because of lack of screening. Back in 2017, we began a new screening program for NCD as part of our community outreach, which already had a strong childhood vaccination program. My counterpart, who is the area nurse, along with my nurse aid and nurse practitioner and I, we would rotate every week where our screening was held and a few times, sessions were held on market days. This was successful in that we were able to promote awareness as well as encouraged anyone to stop by during clinic hours for a free screening and consultation which included a blood pressure check, BMI calculations, blood sugar, waist measurements and health education.

    On the side, I was doing exercise off and on, sometimes by myself and sometimes with my host siblings and sometimes with children from my village. Exercise has so many benefits and it was something that could be started, sustained and shared. In early January of 2019, I felt confident enough in my relationship with my community that I decided it was time to start an exercise program. The exercise club was opened to anyone, children, women and men, young and old. With enthusiasm and support from all of my colleagues at the clinic, we started running it twice a week in the afternoons on the clinic grounds. It started out with only 3 of us and then through a different collaboration with one of my French primary schools, the principal heard about it. She approached me and wanted to bring her class to participate as part of their sports program. We grew from there, and she along with my staff began encouraging anyone and everyone to join – people walking on the road, family members, and even the truck drivers! A few men attended but it grew to be mostly woman, mamas from the nearby villages, young and old and children. I was so surprised but extremely humbled by the support, enthusiasm and strength of all these women."

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  • Aaron Hilliker posted an article
    Volunteer Eric worked with his community to complete 72 toilets. see more

    Source: The Daily Post

    Published: October 12th, 2019

    In Brief: Volunteer Eric worked with his community to complete 72 toilets.


    From the Article:

    The community of Vitimboso, Vanua Lava, TORBA has 142 households with a population of 678 which is the largest village in TORBA.

    ADRA, an NGO in Vanuatu, along with Peace Corps Volunteer Eric Schreiner conducted a community survey in Vitimboso.

    During the survey that was conducted, every toilet in the community was evaluated based on the set criteria by ADRA criteria giving them a quality rating. ADRA found that of the 105 total toilets in the community, 10 toilets are adequate, and 10 toilets need repairs varying from a repair of the slab, structure, or pipe. The survey also showed that 85 total 105 toilets in the community need to be completely replaced. Of these 85 toilets that need a full replacement a majority of these toilets are bush toilets. The remainder are VIP toilets that are weathered, damaged, and unsatisfactory. The local clinic has two toilets, the local school has eight toilets, and the remaining 95 toilets are shared among the 142 households in the community.

    Vitimboso’s Peace Corps volunteer Schreiner organized meetings with the new primary health care committee, the nurse, and the chief to put a plan to build new toilets in the community in Early December.The community decided to move through with an application for the USAID’s small grants fund and were approved. The goal for the community is for every household and community space (Aid Post,nakamal, church, community event area) to have their own VIP(ventilation improved pit) toilet,constructed properly so that the toilet works functionally. The grant rewarded wasn’t large enough to complete new toilets for the 142 households and the community spaces so the community went forth with building just 72 VIP toilets for 72 selected households in the community of Vitimboso. The leaders of the community grouped the community into five groups with each group leader looking after approximately 15 households. With the help of Peace Corps volunteer Schreiner and the communities carpenter each group leader was trained how to make a toilet using the VIP toilet manual written in Bislama that was made by Mr Schreiner.

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  • Friends of Vanuatu posted an article
    A highly-detailed, interactive graphic of TC Harold emergency response activities. see more

    Title: "TC Harold Response Activity"

    Author: NDMO

    Source: NDMO.GOV.VU

    Published: Updated June 5th, 2020

    Brief: A highly-detailed, interactive graphic and map of organizations and activities currently active in response to TC Harold in Vanuatu. 



    From the article: 

    "The National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) is the government’s agency responsible for coordination of preparation and responses to emergencies and disasters across Vanuatu. The 3W infographic below contains latest information response activities by organisations and clusters"


    Click Here To Access Interactive Graphic