The National- Tuesday, January 11, 2011
EAST New Britain Governor Leo Dion wants work on the relocation of Nonga Base Hospital to be fast tracked so vital medical services continue to be provided.
In a statement, he reminded a visiting Department of Health team last week that the national government allocation of K10 million for the relocation purpose must be fully expended this year.
Dion said that negotiations of relocating the main referral since 2001 was taking too long.
He said more facilities currently at Nonga hospital being closed down due to continuous volcanic ash fall and neglect of maintenance.
He urged the visiting team to fast track some of the immediate key deliverables to be undertaken immediately.
This, he said, included land acquisition to be formalised soon between the Catholic church, owner of Putput land and the ENB government.
The provincial government and Rabaul archdiocese are currently negotiating the acquisition of Putput by the provincial government.
The Catholic mission is keen to let the land to the government as indicated by its willingness to negotiate a price that will be acceptable to both parties.
Putput was eventually chosen as the alternative site as it was seen as the major catalyst for implementing the economic development plan and urban development and regional plan.
All these various policies and plans call for an integrated development approach at Putput area as one of the growth centres under the urban and regional plan.
The current status of health services at Nonga had been scaled leaving them with 106 beds out of total 350 beds for patients.
On the other hand rural centres had been upgraded to some extent to capture continuous basic health services to the people.
Specialist services at Nonga were still being maintained but bed capacities had been affected and included internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, child health and neonatology, surgical services, aneathesiological services, ear-nose-throat services, ophthalmologic services, dental services, accident and emergency.
Despite inconveniences clinical diagnostic services and administrative support services are still maintained and are in operation.
The current staff strength are 16 Medical officers, of which eight were specialists and eight registers, 6 health extension officers, 105 nurses, 63 community health workers, 300 administration staff and 90 casuals.
Dion appealed to the Health Department to seriously consider appropriating some of the funds toward kick starting the project this year.
He said that his government had facilitated all necessary requirements to relocate Nonga hospital including K500,000 under Gazelle Restoration Authority to begin scrubbing of the allocated area this year.