Friday, October 04, 2013

Ba Hospital - to be or not to be

from w
I'm getting confused messages about Ba Methodist Mission Hospital.  Last year there was a plan for an upgrade, but now the plan is to forget about it and to build a new hospital in Ba.  With what money I wonder. Anyway here are some news items from today, and the past, and something I wrote in Babasiga blog some time ago.

From Fiji Village today - Saturday October 5 2013:  
Over 19,000 people to benefit from new Ba hospital
 More than 19,000 people in Ba and surrounding areas can expect improved health care system in coming years as construction work on the new Ba hospital is expected to start in January next year.

A memorandum of understanding was signed between the government and the Ba Chamber of Commerce this afternoon.

The Ba Mission hospital was built 87 years ago and according to the Prime Minister the building is beyond repair.

Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama said the building has started to show signs of it's age and stressed that they are not interested in “band aid solution” and it is time to move forward to a new approach.
Commodore Bainimarama said the project is expected to cost more than $23 million. He added that the government will fund the first phase of project by providing an allocation of $7.3 million next year.

The plans are expected to be finalized in coming months and according to the Prime Minister he has asked the government officials to fast track the process. He stressed that under the new constitution every Fijian has the right to health.

The new hospital will be located at Clopcott Street.

Story by: Praneeta Prakash
From Fiji Live yesterday.
New $23m hospital for Ba October 04, 2013 07:02:30
Ba is to get a new $23 million hospital under a private-public partnership between the government and the Ba Chamber of Commerce. Work on the project starts next year with the aim of replacing the 87-year-old current Ba hospital. Following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two parties, Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama said new Ba Hospital is long overdue. "We’re not interested in any more Band-Aid solutions." Construction of the new hospital will be in stages and government will fund the first phase with an allocation of $7.3 million in 2014. By Reginald Chandar

Read more at:
However a year ago there was a different plan.  So what happened to that plan?
a video from Fiji News about Ba Mission Hospital and upgrading.
Ba Mission Hospital to receive $16 million facelift – last year?
Monday, February 27, 2012 at 4:04 PM


The Ba Mission Hospital will have a 16 million dollar facelift in the coming years and plans are underway to raise these funds. This was revealed the to the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama by the Commissioner Western Commander Joeli Cawaki after the Prime Minister wanted to see a change in location of the Nailaga Health Centre.The Prime Minister’s concerns were raised after he was made aware of the difficulties faced by the staff of the Nailaga health centre during the recent flooding.
Commander Cawaki said that the Special Administrator Ba – Tavua, Arun Prasad has been in close contacts with him regarding the upgrading of the Ba Mission Hospital. “The proposed $16million facelift will help the Ba hospital cater for all of Ba,” Cawaki said.
The Nailaga Health Centre services the people from Matawalu, Votua, Nawaqarua and Nailaga and is prone to flooding as it sits on the bank of the Ba River. Apart from the Ba Mission Hospital, there are only two health centres in Ba – the Nailaga Health Centre and the Ba Health Centre.
From the archives of Babasiga blog

In Ba and Lautoka the CSR gave some medical care for their staff and workers in those early days, but did nothing for 'free' Indian migrants, nor did the government of the day. In Ba with thousands of people, there was no hospital. The Methodist Church staff in various places had set up small dispensaries such as at Nausori and Navua. In 1913 Cyril Bavin wrote 'The Church in Australia has been asked for years to provide a hospital, and all that they have has been two dispensaries and one nurse!' The compassionate policy that began with Hannah Dudley gradually evolved slowly. 

Rev Piper in 1919 stated a case for a Mission hospital for Indian women because the Government did nothing for them. In the same year J.F. Long began work at Rarawai, Ba. His wife was Dr Olive Long (nee Rivette) and she started to relieve Indian women of their ailments. So in 1924 a decision was made to build a hospital in Ba but not to exceed the cost of 2000 pounds. Local Indians raised 500 pounds. Local Fijians helped by carting river sand needed for the conrete and the CSR gave an engine and trucks for transport. So on 5 June 1926 Ba Hospital was opened.(More of this story can be found in Harold Wood's book Overseas Missions of the Australian Methodist Church Vol 111 Fiji-Indian and Rotuma.

Over the years, fees have been kept fairly low and the hospital at Namosau has been a wonderful gift to the Ba community. Our first two children were born there in the late 60s and I feel gratitude to people like Dr John Horton and Sister Satya Bali. 

As funding from Australia diminished, there were financial problems, so as far as I know, the hospital was handed over to the Fiji government. So what's with this debt of nearly half a million dollars? The hospital has been a gift to the community out of compassion,

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