Building work on Haʻapai new $2.5 million hospital to start soon

Work on Haʻapai new TP$2.5 million (USD$1.1 million) hospital is expected to start towards the end of this year, the Haʻapai Governor Moʻale Finau said this morning.

A local company has been brought in last week to complete the planning.

The project is part of a US$20 million reconstruction project funded by ADB and other donors through Cyclone Ian Reconstruction project to build  housing, electricity, solar system, sanitation and hospital after the cyclone struck the islands in 2014.

Tonga Finance Secretary Tatafu Moeaki said: “I can now confirm that the Ha’apai new hospital with an estimated budget of USD$1.1 million is yet to complete the new design.

“A local company ITS was contracted recently (last week) to work alongside the Ministry of Infrastructure to complete the design”, Moeaki said in an email.

Governor Finau said there was a delay in the process because the location for the new hospital was not immediately available.

He said the Haʻapai High School PTA launched a petition with the government raising their concerns over  the building of the hospital near the school.

Most people were concerned about how this has been pushed and they needed an explanation from the government to make sure their children are safe if the hospital will face an epidemic.

Finau said ADB wanted him to sort out the issue and he did it in a meeting with the parents recently where they were told other local hospitals in the country are surrounded by residents and the Ministry of Health had not come across any such problems in the past.

Local construction companies have started moving in in preparation for the work he said.

The new hospital will replace the old Niu’ui hospital which is currently located in Hihifo in Lifuka.

Editor’s note: We have reported in 2014 that the then government announced it was planning to build a $20 million new hospital for Ha’apai. This amount apparently was meant for the whole reconstruction project but not for the hospital only. 

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