New medical clinic for Malaita

A PROJECT to provide a medical clinic for the highland region of Malaita has taken a significant step forward with the recent purchase, in Honiara, of all the hardware requirements.

The clinic is to be built at Taba’a as an International Service project of the Traralgon Rotary Club.

Taba’a is situated in the central highland region, between Auki, on the west coast, and Atori, on the east coast and is the village where the Traralgon Rotary Club built a school in 1991.

The nearest existing clinic is located to the east, at Nafinua, an awkward descent with the return ascent a challenging four-hour climb.

This reality, along with the community request for assistance, inspired the Traralgon Rotarians to do something about it.

Their proposal, to plan and build a facility, advanced slowly, encountering many communication difficulties, which led to Traralgon Rotarian, John Kop, visiting the Solomon Islands in 1997 to resolve some outstanding issues.

In 1999, the plans were postponed for an indefinite period as a result of the outbreak of ethnic violence, which engulfed Honiara and surrounding areas.

Over a number of ensuing years, the Rotary club maintained intermittent contact with the view of relaunching the project, once favourable conditions had returned.

About 2007/08, the project was relaunched with the endorsement of the Government of the Province of Malaita, Health and Medical Services Department and the commitment of the Taba’a village community, as it would be necessary for them to cut all the timber requirements and, to carry all the hardware from the east coast to the site.

Slow progress prompted Traralgon Rotarians Brian Lythgo and Ian Draper to visit in November 2011, to progress and finalise the plans.

Auki resident Mathew Iroga, who has assisted the project since its inception, arranged their appointments prior to their arrival.

After viewing timber being cut and being convinced that the project was advancing well, Mr Lythgo and Mr Draper returned to Traralgon to arrange the purchase and delivery of the hardware.

In recent months, as the East Road of Malaita has been severely weather damaged, preventing road delivery from Auki, materials have had to be purchased in Honiara, and shipped direct to Atori, on the east coast.

Tom Tumu, from Auki, has assisted significantly with the coordination of purchasing and shipping.

An immense challenge now lies ahead of the Taba’a and surrounding village communities to carry the large quantities of materials up to the site, and then, lay the concrete slab prior to a visit of a team of Traralgon Rotarians, to construct the clinic. It is anticipated that construction will be completed during 2013.

“The Rotary Club of Traralgon is grateful for the support of the Rotary Club of Honiara, in particular, the advice and assistance from Rotarian David Quan and Past District Governor, Wayne Morris,” a spokesperson said.

“The Rotary Club of Traralgon is committed to service to the local community and also to the International community.

“It is with great anticipation that they look forward to completion of the project, which will provide significantly better access to health services delivery in the highland region and healthier outcomes for the highland people.’