Access to health care service can be a night mare for many of our people, especially those living in remote and rural parts of our country. The thought of travelling long distances and for many hours is already discouraging let alone rough seas, mountainous terrain, flooded rivers, streams and financial hardships that one has to brave and incur before reaching a nearby clinic.
This has been the case for around 11,000 people in communities within and around Avuavu in the Weather coast of Guadalcanal, Guadalcanal province.
As of Tuesday this week, this will be a thing of the past, following the official opening of the newly built Avuavu Area Health Clinic that comes along with it, expanded and improved health services to the people there.
Amongst the community members who attended the opening of the health facility was a mother of eight, Mrs. Olive Sughuti, a retired teacher who spend whole of her teaching career serving in school in Guadalcanal Province.
“My heart is in tears, tears of joy and not sorrow, tears of happiness and not sadness, tears of great appreciation and thanksgiving as I sit to watch the opening of our new Area Health Care Centre. What a wonderful development indeed”,
“I believe the feeling I have is the same for all others attending the opening of our new health facility here today. I can clearly recall and still can imagine the pain of having to travel up the mountains, crossing rivers and flooded rivers or travelling the rough seas during bad weather simply to reach the nearby clinic to give birth or get our children to receive medical treatment”, said Mrs. Sughuti.
She explained, “Worst still is reaching the nearby clinic only to be told that the right treatment is not available and we will need to travel to either Good Samaritan Hospital or the National Referral Hospital in Honiara. Such travels require money and the means to travel such as boats and trucks which are often the difficulties we face. I guess this has also been the reason why many easily turn to traditional medicines for many of our illnesses”.
With the new Area health facility Mrs. Sughuti said that all these will now be history and bed time stories for our children and grand children.
She excitedly described the Avuavu New Area Health Center as of very high standard, well equipped with much needed services that will serve well women, children and people in Avuavu and surrounding communities.
“Surely here on, seeking medical services and health care will be much easier for us as it is right in our communities. Thank you to the government and people of Korea, thank you WHO, Ministry of Health and Provincial Government and Provincial Ministry of health for choosing our community for this area health centre but also for getting the facility completed with new health services that we often travelled far to get”, said Mrs. Sughuti.
The Avuavu Area Health Centre Project was made possible through the funding support from the people and the Government of Korea through KOICA, Korea International Cooperation Agency. Many thanks to WHO for managing and implementing the project in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Medical Services and Guadalcanal province.The support and contributions made towards the project by Avuavu communities including churches, women and youths groups had played a major role in the smooth progress and completion of the project.
The upgrading of the Avuavu clinic to an Area Health Centre is part of the overall efforts of the Ministry of Health to achieve Universal Health Coverage whereby people have access to health care they need without suffering from financial hardship.
Last month, Aola and surrounding communities in East Central Guadalcanal also opened their new Area Health Centre. Later this year two more Area Health Centers are lined up for opening, One in Afio in Malaita Province, to be opened in May and Manuopu in the Reef Islands, Temotu Province scheduled to be completed in June July 2022
The construction of these facilities and level of health services they offer are guided by the Ministry of Health’s Role Delineation Policy that sets out and governs the path for health service provision across the country in support of the objectives of the National Health Strategic Plan with the ultimate goal of achieving Universal Health Coverage for our people.