The Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) is accelerating work to establish an Area Health level Centre (AHC) at Wagina, Gilbertese settlement in Choiseul Province with current major task, the retendering of the construction work.
Previous firm who won the bid to construct the AHC in 2019 was later turned down since it did not meet a very minor procurement requirement as required by the Central Tender Board, Ministry of Finance and Treasury that is responsible to issue such level of construction work on behalf of the government.
Delay was furthered with some technical issues with the design of the AHC following a review of the design and work on the adjustments; however, has already been completed.
Consequently, this has left wagina residents to resort to travelling to Gizo Hospital in the Western Province, which is only one hour and a half by boat while going viaTaro hospital in Choiseul would take between 5 to 6 hours with 60 hose powered engine, for more serious medical needs.
As such, MHMS has moved Wagina AHC project up the notches of its priority activity list to complete as soon as possible. A brief meeting with Wagina based Catholic Father Humberto Villa, who happened to be in town was recently held. Father Humberto has been very instrumental in advocating for health services in Wagina.
At the meeting, issues of lack of a dedicated nurse, shortage of medicines and the sick having to travel for hours by boat and at times through high sea swells to Gizo hospital discussed, including space for the AHC were highlighted.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services Mrs Pauline McNeil acknowledged the great need for improved health services for the people of Wagina and expressed great concern for the delays in the processes that are sometimes beyond the control of MHMS. Mrs McNeil nevertheless assured of MHMS commitment to fast track delays, and expedite required tasks so construction can commence. “A team from the Ministry of Health will be deployed to the Wagina soon to assess the space allocated for the health centre and re-engage community through consultation should there be need for expansion of space or identification of new site for the AHC. “With the retender we are working closely with relevant colleagues from the Ministry of Finance for retendering of the construction work and should be able to get this done as soon as possible. The Wagina AHC is a priority project for Health’s 2022 development budget”, said Mrs. McNeil.