LUANIUA community in the Malaita Outer Islands (MOI) urgently needs a clinic.
And residents on this isolated island urged the government to build them the facility.
Their call came after the community’s only clinic had run-down more than 20 years ago and was no longer able to serve the people.
Spokesman and a former Malaita provincial member Wilson Sangahu said residents on the island were no longer accessing health service because there were no health facilities.
“We urge the next government to take our appeal seriously,” Mr Sangahu said.
“The government must know we have no health facility and that we are no longer accessing medicines.
“We have been ignored and neglected for a very long time.
“As a result, many of our people died from preventable illnesses simply because we don’t have easy access to health service,” Mr Sangahu added.
He said the population of the island had risen over the years and the need for a health facility is well over due.
Mr Sangahu said there is a health centre on the island of Pelau but it’s too far and also expensive for them to travel.
“To hire an outboard motor to travel to Pelau would cost you $1,000. You have to also pay for fuel, which would cost you an extra $2,000.
“So to hire an outboard motor would cost you $3,000. This is money we don’t have.
“Having a health facility on our island would only be the solution to our predicament,” Mr Sangahu said.
He added sending sick people to Kilu’ufi in Malaita or the National Referral Hospital in Honiara depends on shipping.
Ships travel to the island once a month under the government’s subsidised shipping service.
Mr Sangahu said the lack of health service on the islands has impacted negatively on the people’s health.
The former provincial member said their clinic was left to run down due to land dispute.
However, he said the dispute has since been solved and it’s time the government moves in and build them a new clinic.
Mr Sangahu said their request for a new clinic was already made to Malaita provincial government and the Ministry of Health and Medical Services in Honiara for consideration.
Kilu’ufi Hospital stated they were aware of the situation on the island and will work with the new government to see to the people’s request.
“We’ll work together with the new provincial and national member of that constituency (MOI) to ensure people there have access to health service this year,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Sangahu said they also wanted the government to build them a cool-room where they can store their fisheries products.
He said since the continuous imposing of bans on beche-de-mer always affected them.
“We have other fisheries resources to turn to but as you know, fish and other marine produces are perishable products.
“They can easily go bad if you live them in the open for a day or two.
“This is why we need a cool-room where we can store them while waiting to ship them over to the market in Honiara or Auki.”
He said Luaniuans are sea-going people who depended on their marine resources for their livelihood.
“Most families here owned outboard motor engines and canoes that they used to go out into the sea to look for marine resources.
“Now the ban is lifted for only three months and then closed again.
“We ask the new government to help us achieve our wish.”
Another issue facing the Islanders is shipping services.
The only airport there was closed due to land dispute and last year, former Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo visited the atolls and urged landowners to resolve the dispute so that NCRA could reopen it.
He strongly appealed to the landowners of Luaniua in Malaita Outter Islands (MOI) to settle their dispute over the closer of the airport.
Mr Lilo said his government was prepared to complete the airport if the landowners open up their land.
He said: “if you want to really connect the remote part of our country, allow your land because the real benefit goes to our future generation.
“You must see beyond the values that come as the result of the development that you and I will do for ourselves now and the present future generation.
“If you are going to say to me to allow the airport to be developed I will deliver it to you,” he told the people of Luaniua.
He said despite of the climate change people should not sit back and think there is no future; there is no prospect for future opportunities.
“Let me tell you if you open the airport we are going to open up this part of the country with tourism development.”
He said if other countries like Fiji can offer the services for their visitors, we can offer even better with our beautiful resources.
The airport was closed seven years ago due to land dispute between landowning groups.
By STEPHEN DI’ISANGO