Welcome to Savo’s ‘hospital’: white ants, no toilets or electricity

Emmy Koipui working inside the Panueli Health Centre on Savo Island.

Emmy Koipui working inside the Panueli Health Centre on Savo Island as patients wait.

This clinic is supposed to be a mini hospital, supporting a population of 4000.

Instead it is ravaged by white ants – meaning it could fall down on any day – has no toilet, no electricity, one full-time nurse and an unreliable water supply.

The clinic, called the Panueli Health Centre, has two beds – with no bedding – and no chairs or a table.

The clinic in question sits on Savo Island, an hour’s boatride from the Solomon Islands’ capital.

Yet it seems like a world away.

The two "beds" in the hospital with no furniture.

The two “beds” in the hospital with no furniture.

“When you poke your finger through the wall it goes straight through,” Nurse in-charge Emmy Koipui revealed to an SIBC team visiting the Island.

“There’s no light and electricity in the clinic for me to work . . . someone stole the solar panel that the nurse who came last year brought along with her.

“So we only attend to patients during the day.”

The clinic from the outside

The clinic from the outside

Ms Koipui is the clinic’s only staff member. She said she was inundated with patients every day.

“I need someone else to help,” she said.  “We have another worker here, but they’re studying and won’t be back until June.

“It’s very, very hard for me to deal with all the patients at the moment.”

“We really need a whole new clinic.”

Panueli Community member and landowner Benjamin Kakau said the building “should be a mini hospital”.

Benjamin Kakau on the steps of the clinic

Benjamin Kakau on the steps of the clinic

But instead, he said, it was quite literally half the building it was supposed to be.

“It was funded by the Japanese Government,” he said. “And when the designer of the building (built in 2005) came back to see the building he was in tears.

“It was supposed to be two stories, and now look at it.

“We need proper infrastructure and development here in Savo, but we’re just going from bad to worse . . . and it seems like the poor just get poorer and the rich don’t care.”

 

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