There have been discussions for years from the grassroots to the parliamentary level about the need for the National Referral Hospital to provide better conditions for citizens as they honour the dead.
In response, the hospital is moving forward with plans for a new international-standard mortuary in Honiara.
National Referral Hospital Chief Executive Officer Dr Steve Aumanu said the new morgue will be built on the current morgue site.
“Design work, preparations, BOQs, schedule of work — all has been completed for this new morgue,” Dr Aumanu said.
In preparation for the new mortuary, services are being moved to a temporary facility, which is expected to be operational by January. The building, landscaping and fencing for the temporary morgue cost about SBD$1.1 million.
Once mortuary services are shifted to the temporary morgue and a contractor is engaged, the current morgue will be demolished. Then construction on the new morgue can begin.
Dr Aumanu said the tender for contractors is now out.
The Ministry of Infrastructure Development will deliver the project, which Dr Aumanu estimated will cost between SBD$6.5 million and SBD$7 million.
The new morgue will have more storage for bodies than the current morgue, which has three boarding spaces.
The Solomon Islands Forestry Association recently donated six morgue refrigerators to the hospital, and four more will be donated later.
Dr Aumanu said the storage machines will improve issues such as lack of space and unreliable cooling systems that exist in the current morgue.
The refrigerators, along with a 10-bed freezer donated by RAMSI will provide space for 20 bodies at the new morgue.
Dr Aumanu said there will also be more space outside for relatives of the deceased.
“It will allow the people of this country who are mourning our people who die to have some dignity,” he said. “That is something that we have been considering and it’s something that we’ve taken seriously to provide for our people.”
By Lowen Sei