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Namuga Hospital Project

Last updated 27.03.2017

All information provided by Dr Chris Millar

Dr Chris Millar (MBChB FRACGP Dip CH), is a GP at King Street Medical Centre, in Murwillumbah, NSW, Australia, as well as a VMO at Murwillumbah Hospital. He is currently the Project Manager of the Namuga Hospital Project and has previously been the Project Manager of the Taro Hospital Project.

West view
Project phases:
  1. Inpatient facility / Delivery rooms / OT / ED / OPD
  2. X-ray wing
  3. Children's ward

This is truly a community based initiative, from a community which is unable to readily access any form of healthcare, due to geographical and economic limitations. They have been suffering from this fact for generations. This community has ownership of this project, and has contributed to it in a real and tangible way. It is a project that is likely to be sustainable over generations for many different reasons, outlined below. A relatively small contribution now, will have tangible benefits to an existing population of 44,000, and their progeny (both genetic and academic), for many generations to come. It is a project that has already attracted significant assistance from the Australian, and International community.

The aim of the project as a whole is to build a health facility for the 22,000 people of the Star Harbour Area, as well as the two outlying islands of Santa Ana and Santa Catalina. The land upon which the hospital complex will be built is registered government land, which has been dedicated for this purpose. Part of the project is also to supply medical equipment for the Provincial Referral Hospital in Kirakira, which serves the other 22,000 people of the island.   The project is a registered RAWCS project (ID 462, Project No. 76, Year Registered 2010-11). This means that it is a project that is registered under Rotary International, and is able to give tax deductible receipts for Australian businesses, for donations to the project. Any donations, can be deposited into the Australian RAWCS account, will be able to be transparent, and accountable.

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The proposed Hospital will include:

  • 44 patient beds (24 beds in the main hospital and a 20 bed tuberculosis ward)
  • facilities for radiology, pharmacy, dental and laboratory services
  • 15 permanent staff houses
  • 1 nurses' dormitory
  • a generator shed
  • maintenance and storage area
  • spring water supply
  • septic sewerage system
  • a diesel generator able to be run on diesel or on biodiesel sourced from the local community combined with an ecologically friendly 5KW off grid wind turbine and solar power system

The facility will have the provision to provide a comprehensive level of health services, including:

  • health promotion and preventative health
  • general medical services
  • child health (including immunisations)
  • ante-natal care and a birthing facilities
  • a dedicated tuberculosis ward
  • diagnostic, radiology and microscopy services

Project's objectives

The healthcare objectives of this project, which are listed below, are aligned with that of the Ministry of Health, Solomon Islands and the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID).

  Once completed, the new Namuga Health Clinic will aim to reduce the incidence of:

  • maternal mortality
  • perinatal mortality
  • childhood mortality for children aged under 5
  • malaria
  • Tuberculosis
  • obesity
  • diabetes
  • cardiovascular disease
  • cancer
  • malnutrition
  • domestic violence

The above will be achieved by improving access to:

  • health care services
  • medicines and medical supplies
  • immunization programs
  • sanitized birthing facilities
  • health education

An additional, unforseen benefit, worthy of mention, regards training of future doctors and nurses within the Solomon Islands Health System, and the Australian Health System. After discussions with the P.S. Ministry of Health, Solomon Islands, he has assured me that the Namuga Hospital has been identified as a training site for junior medical officers within the Solomon Islands Health Service. This means that newly qualified doctors will do some of their internship at the Namuga Hospital as part of their training. Similarly, the Director of Nursing, Makira Province,  wishes to use the Namuga Hospital as a clinical campus for Nursing training within the Provincial Health Service in Makira. Bond University, Gold Coast, Australia, has identified Makira as a training site for it's medical students. The first wave of students are currently doing part of their training in Kirakira Hospital. Once Namuga Hospital is complete, and as the Bond programme expands, it has been identified as a potential second site for the Bond University students. These benefits add to the overall sustainability and positive impact of the project.

The project was developed in consultation with Chief John Woria, Paramount Chief of the Star Harbour region, as well as Hon Martin Karani(Provincial Member for Star Harbour) They approached Dr Chris Millar for assistance in improving the delivery of health services in the Star Harbour area.

Through the ensuing dialogue that came out of this, was formed the plan to build a hospital in Namuga. A village health committee was formed . The members of this committee were consulted throughout the design process, as was the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Solomon Islands, and the Provincial Health Director, Kirakira(DPHMS). The Provincial Government was also consulted throughout the process. In addition, the Solomon Islands Minister for Development, Planning, and Aid Coordination was consulted.

 

Work Programme
Aug 2012 to Mar 2013 milling of timber, mining of sand and gravel, collection of leaf (boat shed) as well as transport to site.
Mar 2013 to Apr 2013 Footings and posts for main hospital to be completed. Septic system installed for main hospital, and builder's toilet installed.
Feb 2013 to Apr 2013 Frame and roof of main hospital to be completed.
Posts of TB wards to be completed
Apr 2013 to Nov 2013 Cladding/flooring of main hospital to be completed.
Nov 2013 to Jan 2014 Fit out of hospital to be completed.
Jan 2014 to Jun 2014 Staff housing, renovation of old clinic and the construction of the TB ward to be undertaken and completed.

Volunteer Rotarians from Murwillumbah to come and paint the hospital during the month of January 2014.

 

Budget
Type of activity Head of Mission DAP (Direct Aid Programme) contribution Australia Recipients Others
Services   Ongoing costs of running, staffing and maintaining the facility , as well as consumables, will be incurred by the Ministry of Health , Solomon Islands, through DPHMS, Makira Ulawa Province.  
Equipment     N.S.W. Health Services; replacement cost of equipment valued at AUD$ 3.3 million dollars.

We have been donated a 375 KVA diesel generator, valued in excess of AUD$17,000.00 We have also been donated two 55 KVA diesel generator valued at AUD$10,000.00 each.

Community based fundraising in Australia has raised AUD$40,000.00, AUD$10,000.00 of which we have spent on the purchase of shipping containers. These containers will be used for the generator / storage / boat sheds.
Construction   All timber, sand and gravel for the construction of the New Hospital building, as well as the x-ray / lab / pharmacy / dental / storage building, and TB wards, as well as the labour to transport these materials to site for the construction of the Namuga Hospital building is being donated from the local community. The community will also pay for feeding of the labourers on the project. This contribution is valued in excess of AUD$100,000.00.

The Provincial Government, Makira, has budgeted in excess of SBD$400,000.00 to go towards the project. This will be spent on labour and materials for the concrete piers. The total labour costs of the project are the responsibility of the Provincial Government.

SIG(Solomon Islands Government) T.B. budget allocation, through DPHMS will partly fund the construction of the two permanent T.B. wards.(Have budget of SBD$70,000.00)

The provincial Government has been given assurances that the National Government will fund the construction of 15 staff houses as well as a nurses dormitory. This is valued in excess of AUD$600,000.00
SALMAT, a Sydney based company has funded the renovation of the old clinic building into x-ray / lab / pharmacy / dental / storage, at a cost of SBD$70,000.00.

SALMAT has funded the septic system of the hospital / T.b. / staff housing complex, as well as the windmill / tanks for springwater. They will also fund staff house plumbing, to a value of AUD$50,000.00.

Canada fund has funded the fitout (plumbing / lining / wiring / roof / paint) of the new Namuga Hospital building, to a value of CAD$50,000.00.
Administration expenses   Administration responsibilities will be taken care of through the following interested parties: RAWCS, Makira Ulawa Provincial Government, Makira Ulawa Provincial Health Service, SALMAT, King St Medical Centre, Murwillumbah. There will be no costs incurred to the project as a result of these administrative activities.  
Parts of the project that still require funding
Transport of the 5 containers of medical supplies,from Murwillumbah, NSW, to Namuga, Makira, Solomon Is, quoted at AUD$60,000.00.      
Wiring for Tb wards AUD$15,000.00      
Costs to mill timber for staff housing - costing to be advised (Provincial Govt Makira)      
Wiring for staff housing (yet to be costed)      
Purchase of sea ambulance for hospital      

News

14 Mar 2014: Dr Chris Millar writes:

Here are some recent photos of the Namuga Project and it's progress, on a recent site visit by SALMAT representatives and Canadian High Commission representatives.

We have a new building supervisor, Jack Visser, who is doing a great job. He is a volunteer Australian builder.

07 May 2014: Dr Chris Millar writes:

The Hospital committee have voted on the hospital logo for Namuga.

17 Jun 2014: Dr Chris Millar writes:

The recent earthquake has damaged the old clinic building, so we will have to build the x-ray room etc from scratch. Here (20KB pdf file) is the revised plan for the new wing of the new hospital building to incorporate these rooms.

01 Jul 2014: Dr Chris Millar writes:

Here (570KB pdf file) are the plans of the staff houses for Namuga.

20 Jul 2014: Dr Chris Millar writes:

To date, progress has been hampered by lack of timber. All timber and necessary hardware to complete the hospital, tb ward, and two staff houses are now on site, with an estimated date of completion for the above buildings in December.

30 Aug 2014: Dr Chris Millar writes:

Here are some photos from last month with the completion of the roof on the other wing.

28 Sep 2014: Dr Chris Millar writes:

Here are some photos from August. The verbal update from the building team is that the roof is on the tb ward, all internal walling/ceiling/painting complete, doors hung and windows installed on Hospital. Staff establishment, with the exception of a Dr, is complete. The opening date of Jan 15 is definitely achievable.

14 Oct 2014: Dr Chris Millar writes:

Here are some photos from early September.

04 Nov 2014: East Makira Health

SIBC News: East Makira health improved compared to last year

08 Nov 2014: Dr Chris Millar writes:

Here is the update from Derk Houwen, our volunteer tiler:

Some photos of progress, tiling is completed, wall lining outside walls started Wednesday [05 Nov 2014]. Electrical rough in has been completed.

20 Nov 2014: Dr Chris Millar writes:

Photos update from early November. Now the external cladding is complete and they are in the process of completing flooring and vinyl.

10 Jan 2015: Dr Chris Millar writes:

Here are some photos from December 2015 of the Namuga Hospital complex and some of the medical equipment that has been taken out of the containers.

21 Jan 2015: Dr Chris Millar writes:

Here (60KB pdf file) is an update re Dental progress in the Namuga Hospital Project.

08 Feb 2015: Dr Chris Millar writes:

Here are some more photos from the Namuga Hospital complex.

03 Mar 2015: Dr Chris Millar sends new photos.

21 Mar 2015: Dr Chris Millar writes:

These photos are from earlier in the week, when I went to visit Namuga Hospital.

The community from the hospital's catchment area confirmed at a meeting that they will build 15 traditional style staff houses. 

21 Mar 2015: Namuga Hospital in the News:

SIBC News: Namuga communities soon to benefit from hospital project

10 Jul 2016: Dr Chris Millar writes:

These photos are of the x-ray / pharmacy / dental / laboratory wing, which is on it's way to completion.

All hospital fans and lights will run from solar panels, only medical equipment will run from generators.

A charity called Little Lives will fund the Children's Ward. The Provincial Government is milling the timber for the 15 staff houses at present.

18 Jul 2016: Dr Chris Millar writes:

A photo of the x-ray wing build - Phase 2 of Namuga Hospital build, as of 10 days ago. Now, I am told, by the builder, John Marshall, that the roof is on the brick x-ray room. The internal fitout materials are en route via ship from Honiara, and are expected to arrive next week. This will enable completion of the phase 2 build.

20 Jul 2016:

According to Dr Rooney Jagilly, doctor in charge of training the interns and junior medical staff in Solomon Islands, the internship training committee is looking at sending senior interns to do their rural terms to Namuga in the near future.

29 Aug 2016: Dr Chris Millar writes:

Below is a recent aerial view of the Namuga Hospital Complex. On the extreme right of the photo, with silver coloured roof and brown walling is the Tb ward. Adjacent to this, a little left, is a U shaped building with a red roof - This is the inpatient building, delivery suites, operating theatre, CSSD, outpatients, emergency dept, pharmacy, dental, laboratory, and x-ray. In-between this U shaped building, and the river, is a building which is not visible , as the large tree hides it. This is the 'wantok rest haus', which currently serves as the storage shed, and, with a little renovation is planned at being transformed into accommodation for families who come to look after the sick patient whilst they are an inpatient. To the left of the U shaped building is another red roofed building, which is the generator and storage shed. Directly adjacent to this red roofed building, is a building with a silver roof - this is the current clinic building, and which is planned to be renovated to the ablution block / kitchen building.

aerial view
Photo: Som-Ling Leung, August 2016

Ten prefabricated 2 bedroom staff houses have already been funded by A. Ghiro, the national MP for Makira Province, with an assurance that at least another 6 will be funded in the near future, so as to ensure quality housing for the staff working at Namuga Hospital. Little Lives will fund the construction of the children's ward. This building will attach to the U shaped building, attaching to the far right of this building, making an almost O shape. Construction of this building is planned to start in November/December 2016. Staff complement expected to arrive in January 2017.

13 Oct 2016: Dr Chris Millar sends the following photo:

x-ray wing joining outpatients department
Namuga Hospital x-ray wing complete

19 Oct 2016: Dr Chris Millar writes:

Lights on at Namuga Hospital!
lights
 
team
Big thanks to Jack Visser and the team of volunteer electricians from Australia for making the light shine at Namuga Hospital!!!

Here are some more photos.

22 Oct 2016: Dr Chris Millar forwards some updated photos.

09 Dec 2016: The webmaster asks:

Was Namuga Hospital affected by the magnitude 7.8 earthquake?

11 Dec 2016: Dr Chris Millar replies:.

As far as I know, no damage from the earthquake to Namuga Hospital.

26 Mar 2017: Dr Chris Millar forwards the following information: A local intern who is expected to complete her traing at NRH by June 2017 will be posted to Makira Ulawa Province. It is planed to place her at Namuga Hospital provided the facility is complete and accommodation is available. He adds: I am told that 2 pre fab staff houses are complete with another on the way soon. The final phase of construction of the hospital is soon to start, hopefully complete by June.


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