The Minister of Public Enterprises, Lautafi Fio Purcell, is already looking to the future.
The Member of Parliament for Satupa'itea has silently started lobbying for future funding for the second phase of the Satupa’itea District Hospital, even though the ground breaking for the hospital’s first phase takes place tomorrow morning.
Lautafi is determined to return the hospital to her old days of glory some 50 years ago, when the late Dr. Viali worked full time at the hospital to provide essential medical care for Satupa’itea and neighbouring villages.
With the first phase funded by the government of Japan with a grant of close to US$120,000 to fund an outpatient clinic, Lautafi’s task is to secure funding for additional hospital infrastructure which will include a General and Admission ward as well as a Doctor’s residence and a multipurpose clinic.
The National Health Services is responsible for equipping the hospital to guarantee that essential services will be made available.
“It’s been over 50 years since the old hospital closed down,” recalls the Minister. “And this is a chance to greatly improve the availability of health care not only for Satupa'itea but also for our neighbours, Palauli Le Falefa and Palauli East.
“It’s the opportunity to once again deliver the government platform to our Savaii residents, that what is available in Upolu must also be available in Savaii,” added the Minister.
“And with the government’s fiber optic cable investment soon to be commissioned, medical care and health services not only for Satupa'itea but the rest of the country will vastly improve.
“With God willing, medical evacuation from Satupa'itea is also a possibility because it is a lifesaving investment,” he continued.
He also acknowledged Government of Japan’s generosity, singing praises for the funding and the assistance.
“Over 50 residents from the three electoral constituencies which will benefit from the hospital speaks volumes and the credit goes to the Government of Japan,” complimented the Minister.
The grant, provided under Japan’s Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP) will fund the construction of a new outpatient clinic.
The old hospital was built in the 1960s and was damaged by cyclones and other natural events over the years. The Government decided to close it in the mid-2000s with a plan to rebuild.
For more than 10 years the people from the area have had to make the long trip to the main hospital at Tuasivi.
The new building will be constructed further inland on land leased from the Methodist Church in Mauga, Satupaitea.
The former location was close to the sea shore making it prone to natural disasters.