For many of our children in the rural areas, simple sighting of a new outboard motor engine and outrigger canoe in full throttle can always be intriguing. It can light up their eyes, and bring great smiles to their faces.
This is the case for our beautiful children of Vageza, Kia Village in Isabel Province when a brand new 60 horse powered Yamaha outboard engine and Ray Boat was delivered to their health facility, Kia Area Health Centre, this week.
One of the young lads sprinted from his home to the seashore shouting “seeii!”, In the local language, Pijin, meaning “wow!”. Still gasping for breath, he enquired to his friends, “Guys whose boat is this?”.
Overhearing him, health workers who travelled from Buala, the provincial capital to Kia to deliver the boats responded, “This boat is to serve your health needs and that of your family and community”.
The Boy and his friends could not help it but to jump into the boat posing for a camera shot and joined the brief handover of the boat and engine by the Supervising Director of Nursing Isabel Province, Mr. Martin Gavira to the Kia AHC Nurse in Charge, Mr Joseph Patolo.
In delivering the boat, Mr. Gavira informed everyone that it is part of the Ministry of Health’s ongoing efforts to enhance health care service delivery in the provinces and this could not have come into fruition if not for the substantial funding support from the World Bank.
Receiving the outboard motor engine, boat, fuel horse and tanks the Kia AHC nurse in charge Mr Patolo said that transporting sick patients and emergency cases to Buala hospital, in the provincial capital has always been a challenge. “What we currently have is an old 40 horse power engine that takes us 4 to 5 hours to reach Buala hospital but more concerning is the leaks with the old boat making it quite dangerous to travel during bad weather. At times we had to hire boat from a one of the villagers if the current engine and boat requires repairs”, said Mr Patolo.
He explained, “So the what is received will enabled us to move in time sick patients and emergency cases to Buala hospital but also the boat will serve to support the delivery of lifesaving essential health services such as immunization and other public health services and programs”.
Mr Patolo described the new boat and engine as a blessing that will serve well the people of Kia today and into the future. “We will take good care of it so that it also takes good care of us”, assured the Kia AHC nurse in charge.
One of the community leaders, Mr Nixon Kolegehegna also joined the excitement where he thanked the Ministry of Health and Medical Services for recognizing the logistical needs of Kia AHC with the allocation.
“A big thank you especially to the World Bank for the funding support. Your funds have enabled the purchase of an important logistical need that now assures us that we can reach Buala hospital in time for treatment and when faced with emergency”, stated Mr. Kolegehegna.
A total of 20 Ray Boats and 20 outboard motor engines including sets of marine safety equipment worth USD 348,000 (2,763,360) have been procured with the World Bank funds and distribution is underway across the provinces. Training for skippers is also part of the package to ensure the boats and engines always remain functional.
Procurement of these engines is from the ongoing USD13 million health project- funded by the World Bank in partnership with Ministries of Finance and Health primarily intended to support overall COVID_19 response in particular COVID-19 vaccine deployment nationwide including health system strengthening.