Delivery of health services to the provinces and especially to rural and remote parts of the country is always challenging given the distance associated with high transportation costs, irregular shipping services to name a few. It becomes even more challenging when it involves construction of infrastructures or health facilities where labour, machineries and tonnes of materials had to be prepared in their right quantities and shipped to these rural areas without wharf and proper road networks.
For many with construction sites in land, the real challenge is encountered once they reach the shores and have to manoeuvre their way to the site for construction with all the materials, gravels, bags of cement, timbers, etc. Truly a daunting task even before actual construction work commences.
On this note, the Ministry of Health is delighted to learn after follow up last week with contractors that most of the companies engaged for construction of three Area Health Centres (AHCs) and three Rural Health Clinics (RHC) in the provinces have already reached their construction sites with building materials and work have commenced.
Construction team tasked to construct the new Rural Health Clinic in Dedeu, Katova area in Isabel province have arrived a month ago at the site with foundation work already laid out. Contractor said that by June 60 percent of the work should be completed and project completed by November this year.
Also, in Isabel province, Hograno area, construction of the new Konide Area Health Center (AHC1) is underway with the construction team doing ground filling to compact the soil, laying of bricks as per the foundation.
Team working the new Guanataea RHC in Malaita province have laid foundation in the past months and work has now reached the roof to be followed by flooring this month. Contractor said that by July, if all goes well without disruption, the clinic should be completed.
In Wagina, South Choiseul, Choiseul province, where an Area Health Centre is also to be established, the construction team have arrived last week, demolishing the old clinic and fencing off the construction site as part of its site set up. The team will deploy all materials once set up is completed to ensure once materials arrive they can be safely stored from rain and heat from sun.
Contractor contracted for Tukutaunga Area Health Center (AHC1), Temotu Province, reported that construction team have been mobilized, and the company has been busy to mobilize 100 percent of the required materials before shipment to Tukutaunga for ease of logistics.
Similarly, team tasked to construct the new RHC for Leana community in North Vella, Western Province, are mobilizing materials for deployment soon to Leona.
Health Permanent Secretary Mrs Pauline McNeil acknowledge the progress made so far and acknowledge community support rendered to these contractors.
“The success of these projects also heavily rely on the cooperation by communities, a key stakeholder in this endeavour. The Ministry is pleased to learn that in Wagina as well other construction sites, community members have lend helping hands to the construction workers”,
“This is the most effective and efficient way forward that will instil sense of ownership that is crucial for sustainability and longevity of these important infrastructures”, said Mrs. McNeil.
She highlighted that the constructions of these new AHCs and RHCs is in line with the Ministry’s Role Delineation Policy that outlines the service packages these AHC and RHC facilities are to provide with the goal of achieving Universal Health Coverage where people can easily access these services without financial difficulties.
“Overall, once these facilities are completed and resourced to provide services as per the RDP, they will contribute significantly towards the key strategic objectives of the Ministry ‘s National Health Strategic Plan 2022 -2031 where systems and resources meet the needs of the people and responsibly managed and all Solomon Islanders have equitable access to fully implemented, quality health care programmes”, said Mrs. McNeil.
The Ministry will provide another progress update in the next three month.