A ground breaking ceremony to make way for the construction of Naha Birthing and Urban Health Centre worth SBD$150 Million was held today.
Officiating at the ground breaking ceremony are guests from the Australia Government, Solomon Islands Government, Honiara City Council and Solomon Islands Infrastructure Program (SIIP).
According to the concept design, it accommodates 34 beds, X-ray, ultrasound & operating theatre, Dental, ear & eye health, Large birthing suites with bathroom, laundry & garden access, Community Pharmacy and Large Community room & Large family space.
In his remarks, the Minister for Health and Medical Services (MHMS) Dr Culwick Togamana said Naha Birthing & Urban Health Centre is a gift to the people of Solomon Islands from the Government of Australia in recognition of 40 years of Independence.
He said his ministry is very much appreciated of the gift.
He said the Naha Project has been a long time coming.
“The ministry has over many years discussed the need to reduce the primary health care load at the National Referral Hospital, especially in the area of obstetric services which represents 40% of NRH discharge.
“The establishment of this Birthing Centre will be a first for the country and will enable high quality birthing services to be provided to mothers and their babies in a modern, safe environment outside of the National Referral Hospital.
“This birthing centre will have the capacity for up to 1500 low risk deliveries per year and this will greatly assist with reducing the workload on the NRH Delivery Wards and the NRH’s overworked midwifery staff,” he said.
Australia High Commissioner Dr Lachlan Strahan said this project was unveiled by the Australia and Solomon Islands Prime Ministers back in 2018, so in fact it is a prime ministerial project, so it is an important project.
He said most importantly this project is important for the communities in Honiara.
He said the project will be good for weather in the SI and it can be accessed by people with disabilities.
“In the end, making sure the people in this city, especially its women, receive the best possible medical care,” he said.
The project is part of the Australia constant health program in Solomon Islands.
HCC City Mayor Cr Eddie Siapu adds that the Birthing & Urban Health Centre will no doubt improve health outcomes four mothers and children.
“My Executive will be 100% focused on working with the MHMS, Australia and the Solomon Islands Infrastructure Program (SIIP) to ensure we are ready to operate and maintain the centre once it is handed over,” he said.
In meantime, the Health division within HCC is tasked to work with MHMS and the Australian Government to come up with a training plan in preparation for the service to be delivered as soon as the facility is completed.
Naha Clinic Head Nurse Sr Lucy Maena said her staffs are looking forward to working in the new clinic facility.
Since Naha is a busiest clinic, the completion of the new high-class clinic will ease the workload for the staff and provide birthing service for all women in Honiara.
Naha Communities representative Robert Pisu said the new project is the major project facility to be built in Naha.
He said the project will benefit the communities of Naha in many ways, not only Naha communities but also other communities in Honiara.
He thanked the Australia Government, SI Government, Honiara City Council and SIIP for selecting Naha to be the recipient of the major birthing & Urban Health Centre Project.
He added Naha Communities will be guardians of the project.
“We will support this project,” he said.
The project will be implemented by SIIP.
According to the timeline of the project, it will be completed by 2025.
By LACHLAN EDDIE
Solomon Star, Newsroom