BY JARED KOLI
A REVISED plan is being devised for the failed Marau mini hospital project.
The current plan is to rectify the defects which resulted in a demolition order carried out by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Development (MID) in 2019.
This is according to Guadalcanal Provincial Government (GPG) Minister of Finance, Treasury and Administration and Provincial Member for Birao ward in Marau, Andrew Tahisihaka.
Tahisihaka said assessments were made and recommendations were made with a number of reviews on the revised building plan.
“Due to the covid-19 progress has been very slow despite the efforts made. Once plan is complete, it will be resubmitted to GPG Planing and Development Board for approval,” he said.
Tahisihaka said funding remained secure and current design needs to align with the available funding of SBD$10 million dollars.
“More work needs to be done and get the revised plan approved. Land issues at hospital site at Manikalaku have been sorted out by GP Executive,” he adds.
GPG Director of Health Dr Joel Denty said the mini hospital is a community initiative which started back in 2007 with construction began in 2010.
The mini-hospital was funded through a welfare trust fund on Health made available after the Bank of Hawai’I, which holds majority share in the then National Bank of Solomon Islands (NBSI), left the country.
John Sullivan QC of Sol-Law was a trustee to the Trust Fund.
Island Sun was informed that the Marau Community approached John Sullivan as he is also a shareholder of the Tavanipupu Private Island Resort in Marau Sound, east Guadalcanal.
The Marau Community dialogued with John Sullivan and saw the need because the Marau clinic was destroyed after the ethnic crisis in year 2000.
A Marau Mini-Hospital Trust Board was then formed and work commenced thereafter.
However, according to Dr Denty who had involved in the project since 2011, a year after it began construction, the building has issues along the way.
One is, the structure and its plans never passed through Provincial Planning and Development Board.
The construction that began in 2010 was issued a stop notice in 2015 when the project was expected to have been completed its first phase.
Works Division went over to Marau in 2015, inspect the building and put the stop notice.
It was after concerns that the corridor was narrow and could not accommodate hospital beds to make a turn in and between the corridors.
Works Division began to raise issues in regard to quality of material, design of building and building permit.
“The question is why did Works Division let the construction to continue while it is still not passed by the Provincial Planning and Development Board,” questioned Dr Joel in an interview with Island Sun.
Island Sun witnessed during a recent trip to Marau that quality of materials within the building have run down. The flooring is made from ply woods.
The building was deemed failed in 2019, after a team from MID went over and issued a demolition notice, according to Dr Denty.
It was claimed that John Sullivan has spent $6 million on the project and was not happy with its turn out.
“The Marau mini hospital is a sad story. To hold people in ransom without quality health service for 10 years is unacceptable,” said the GP health director.
Island Sun witnessed that there were some sick patients that were admitted in the mini-hospital during a recent visit inside the building.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare also paid a visit inside the failed hospital during the time and witnessed the state of the hospital and challenges faced.
Dr Denty said these patients are only allowed to use the three wards within the hospital. However, the hospital is supposed to have a dental clinic, a theatre and an x-ray department. But all these were not there.
He said the Member of Parliament for east Guadalcanal has recently assisted on facelifting the old clinic by building an outpatient, admission block, and also repainted it, which is also now serving the people in Marau and nearby communities.
The GP health director adds: “Marau already has the post for dentist and doctors, this is not an easy thing to create, in terms of human resources.”
“But when things happen this way, we also have risks of losing those posts. A doctor for Marau has returned to Honiara as well as the dentist,” he stated.
Dr Denty said his patience is now running out and wants the national government or any other funding agencies to step in and help address the issue faced with the mini-hospital.
He said the Aola and Avuavu mini hospitals have been built to standard and have completed successfully although they were built years after the Marau mini-hospital begin construction.
Island Sun could not get comments from John Sullivan as he was overseas.
His law firm, Sol-Law refused to give us his email address, but instructed us to email them the questions.