Solomon Islands National University (SINU) intends to reclaim and renovate the run-down and disused Solomon Islands Malaria Training and Research Institute building at Kukum.
The building, once of the prides of Honiara, was built by the Japanese Government. It has since been abandoned due to its debilitating condition.
SINU’s vice chancellor Dr Glynn Galo said:
“We intended to take back and renovate the building, and turn it for the School of Nursing facility since the Ministry of Health has nothing to do with it”.
He added that during the last Government, former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Dr Lester Ross intends to renovate the building but that has not eventuated.
“I personally met with Dr Ross who has shown interest to renovate the building under the last Government, but that didn’t worked out.”
SINU’s pro-vice chancellor Donald Malasa said:
“Actually there was no proper lease agreement between the Ministry of Health and the previous SICHE. The ministry just promised to pay in small funds for SICHE but that didn’t happened.
“And with our new SINU Council, the agreement with the ministry has now lapsed and we intended to take back the building, renovate it and use it for our School of Nursing.”
The Australian Government initially allocated funds to renovate the building.
They’ve allocated $62 million for the renovation work and the contract was given to Fletcher Kwaimani.
But when the ministry failed to implement the project, the funds were reallocated for another health project.
A clarification issued by the Australian High Commission in Honiara said:
“Australia had previously agreed to refurbish the Solomon Islands Malaria Training and Research Institute building, but it was on Solomon Islands National University land.
“The lease agreement with the Ministry of Health expired and the university notified the Ministry that it had other plans for the building.
“When it wasn’t possible to refurbish the building, Australia and the Ministry of Health reallocated the funds to the National Referral Hospital post natal ward, rural health clinics, housing, medical equipment and other high priority items.”
By CHARLEY PIRINGI