The Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS), Honiara City Council (HCC) with support from the Australian Government through the Solomon Islands Infrastructure Program (SIIP) hosted a Community Leaders Engagement Event at the Naha United Church yesterday morning.
The community leaders’ engagement meeting aimed to speak directly with leaders within the Naha community to inform them of the resumption of work at the Naha Birthing and Urban Health Centre (BUHC) and the benefits of the new design.
At the event Honiara City Council (HCC) Director of Health Services Dr. Chris Becha acknowledged and thanked the Government of Australia for the project.
“On behalf of the MHMS Minister, Permanent Secretary, Health Executive, and HCC Mayor and the Executive, we are all proud of the Naha BUHC. This is a life-changing project”, said Dr. Becha.
He added the project not only has a birthing unit, but theater, dental, ear, and pharmacy services making it more comprehensive as such an important development, a life-changing one for families and communities within its catchment area.
He said, more important, is the fact that the centre is located right in the most populated area of the city and thus will serve well the majority of our city dwellers in terms of ease of access to the services that the centre will offer.
Dr. Becha highlighted that community engagement in the beginning of any project is very important for ownership and thereby care and respect for the important facility.
“As such, this is the reason why we are all here today, to communicate with each other, clarify issues, and doubts, respond to questions and concerns, etc. On this may I express sincere thanks to the Government of Australia through SIIP for your support not only towards the construction and resources of the centre but to support this extra step to ensure that our communities are also on board and fully aware of the development taking place in their area”.
Meanwhile, the Australian High Commission, First Secretary of Health Mrs. Kathleen Bombell said that the Birthing and Urban Health Centre will soon commence and this will indeed bring new opportunities for everyone.
She said the new design enhances safety and accessibility, “The building will be accessible particularly for those with disabilities and for patients to move around while using the facility. This is crucial towards the notion of leaving no one behind in our efforts to achieve Universal Health Coverage”.
“The building itself will be robust and more resilient to earthquakes, floods and fire. It will improve services and bolster patient comfort,” said Mrs Bombell.
She explained that the Australian and Solomon Islands Governments have announced work is set to recommence under SIIP in early 2023.
She added, “Australia remains one hundred percent committed to long-term responsible infrastructure development and SIIP will deliver a high quality project as swiftly as possible”.