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Village Mission Clinic and Pharmacy
20 Girraween Drive

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Last Updated: 08.07.11
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Countries/States Served: TO
People Utilized or Employed: Family Medicine, Pharmacy
Types of Students Allowed:
Program Length: Long Term (Greater than 1 month)
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Current Volunteer Opportunities (Unpaid Positions)
General Practitioner needed for 3 to 6 months
Opportunity Description: The Village Mission Clinic is a well-respected, general family medicine practice originally based in a large village, Ha’ateiho, in central Tongatapu, 9km from the capital Nuku'alofa and 4km from the government base hospital. Dr Glennis Mafi and her husband Mr Manu Mafi started it in 1984. They ran it for most of the first 17 years and have continued to oversee it since 2001. It has clients from all over Tongatapu and even from the outer islands. Most are Tongans but there are also Europeans, Chinese, Indians and others. There is no hospital-based work. VMC is closely associated with the Village Mission Pharmacy in Nuku’alofa (owned by the Village Mission Trust, Tonga). It requires a well-trained and experienced general practitioner because he/she generally has to “stand alone” without the support of fellow GPs or a strong hospital specialist service. Some help has been given by local Tongan doctors, but most Tongan doctors work full time for the Ministry of Health so are available only evenings or Saturdays, and they have not had GP training. Ideally we are looking for long-term people who will commit at least a year and make an effort to understand and learn the local culture and language. However short term health professionals can also make a valuable contribution not only with the service they offer patients but by encouraging and educating the local and long term staff. Case work covers the whole spectrum of health problems and there is potential for research in many areas. Chronic diseases such as diabetes and ischaemic heart disease are major health problems in Tonga. The clinic is particularly well known for expertise in dermatology (and for the availability of a wider range of skin preparations than the government pharmacy), but any GP working there can develop his/her own area of special expertise.
Total Number of Volunteers Needed: 1
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Pharmacist needed for 3 to 6 months
Opportunity Description: Village Mission Pharmacy requires pharmacists who are well trained and experienced in community retail pharmacies. Currently Tongan pharmacists in the Kingdom are employed full time with the Ministry of Health and there are none who have had extensive experience in retail pharmacy and pharmacy level health education. The pharmacy assistants are drawn from the Tongan work- force and have been trained by the Village Mission Pharmacy using the New Zealand Pharmacy Assistant course, slightly adapted to the Tongan setting. In line with its Mission Statement the pharmacy tries to provide a wide range of good quality but lower cost prescription and self-selected medicines and other pharmacy products such as skin care, baby products, wound care etc. Prescription medicines cover a wider range of community medicines than is available through the Ministry of Health pharmacy, and special requirements for individuals are met if at all possible.
Total Number of Volunteers Needed: 1
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Mission Statement: (See Web Site For Updated Information)
“To provide high quality primary health care for the people of Tonga at as a low a cost as possible, and in a Christian setting i.e. to be aware of spiritual needs; to treat the whole person; and to do that from a Christian point of view where appropriate, though always respecting the person’s own philosophy of life.”
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