Island Health Care

    12 September 1997            20c, $1.00, $1.70, $3.00               Mint & CTO        $5.90
                                                                                                    FDC                    $6.40

Technical Details

    Release Date:                    12 September 1997
    Tablet Value:                     20c, $1.00, $1.70, $3.00
    Artist:                                G. L.Vasarhelyi
    Printer:                              The House of Questa Ltd
    Process:                            Lithography
    Paper:                               CA Spiral Watermark
    Stamp Size:                       31.75 x 48.26 mm
    Perforation Gauge:             14 per 2 cm
    Mint and CTO:                  $5.90
    First Day Cover:                $6.40

The Pitcairn Island Health Care issue was released to celebrate the opening of the new Health Care Centre on Pitcairn and to acknowledge the role shipping companies play in the evacuation of people requiring medical treatment.

    The construction of the new Health Centre was funded by the British Government's Overseas Development Administration.  Unlike the old Dispensary in the Square, which had only one room, the Health Centre has an examination room, a dental clinic, and X-ray room and a two bed ward for overnight patients.  The building was constructed away from the Square, thus affording greater privacy for those requiring treatment.  To the left of the building, which features on the 20c stamp, is a timber walk-way linking the Health Centre to the main road below the Square.

    The health needs of the Pitcairn community are met by the Resident Nurse, an Assistant Nurse and a local Dental Officer who also doubles as an X-ray Technician.  From time to time, doctors visit Pitcairn, usually as part of their own planned holiday, giving their services to the community.
The Resident Nurse is usually the wife of the Island Pastor.  They are generally Australian, New Zealand or American trained and registered and serve as nurse for the term of their husbands appointment which varies between two and three years.
Pitcairner, Meralda Warren currently serves as the Assistant Nurse.  She is also the Island's Police Officer and Secretary of the local Co-operative Store.  Steve Christian, who holds the position of Supervising Engineer, swaps his over-alls for the white Dental Officer's Coat to attend to the dental needs of the islanders.  He has recently extended his skills to include the manufacture of dentures and has many satisfied clients.  Steve is also the X-ray Technician.  Both the $1.00 and $1.70 stamps illustrate these aspects of Pitcairn Health Care.

    A special tribute is paid in this issue to the ships of the Wilhelmsen Line which, often at considerable cost to the company, have diverted to up lift seriously ill people from the island and transport them to New Zealand.  During 1996, assistance was given on three occasions by the vessels Tourcoing, Tampere and Texas.  It is the MV Texas which features on our $3.00 stamp and on the First Day Cover design.

    All three vessels are large roll-on/roll-off container ships and bringing a patient on board is frequently difficult.  Once tied alongside a wharf in Auckland however, an ambulance can simply drive aboard to take the patient off.  These three vessels, along with Toba which also called last year, ply the sea routes from Europe, through Panama to Australasia, Asia, North America and back through the Panama to Europe, on regular schedules.