SOME people in the Lau Group have to fork out $100 for a tooth extraction when there is an urgent need to do so.
However, the money is not paid for actual extraction of a tooth but for boat fares to travel to the nearest health centre in the group.
This was revealed by the Ministry of Health spokesman Peni Namotu yesterday as a team of health officials ended a trip to islands in the Lau Group.
Mr Namotu said no dental service was provided to villagers from the five villages on Cicia in Lau. "Normally, the villagers go by boat to the health centre in Vanuabalavu for dental services," he said. "The boat fare from Cicia to Vanuabalavu is $50 per person one way and it costs villagers $100 if they want to extract a tooth."
"The health team from Vanuabalavu comes to Cicia time and again to provide services to people here," he said from Cicia yesterday. Mr Namotu said the health team that visited the Lau Group provided free dental services to people in the villages.
He said the health team also screened villagers for tuberculosis, especially those that had symptoms of the sickness like chest pains, coughing and spitting of blood. "One of the things we emphasised on this trip is for the health teams in Lau to go out and visit the villages."