By Vasinatta Yama – EM TV News, Mt Hagen
The new US$160 million (K527 million) Wabag hospital is in its first phase of construction and expected to be completed in three years time.
EMTV News had the privilege to film the engineering phase yesterday, and spoke with Project Officers about the effect of the country’s current economic state, and how it affects the construction phase.
Enga Works Manager Charles Bannah, is confident the Million Dollar project will be completed on schedule, in three years time.
Construction of the new Wabag Hospital has been divided into three phases. The first phase solely involves site works; hospital buildings go up in the second phase; and staff housing in the third and last phase. Mr Bannah says the US$160 Million (K527 million) will cover all three phases. He said the first phase of the construction is vital for connecting and installing medical equipment before the construction of the actual building.
Medical equipment however, is not included in the budget. According to Mr Bannah, medical equipment alone can cost approximately K60 million (US$ 18 million). The Australian Government, through DFAT, has helped with A$7.5 million (K18 million) to buy medical equipment.
Mr Bannah said due to the current fluctuation of the PNG Kina on the world market, they are limited in funding. In the initial project plan, at least a hundred staff houses and 300 hospital beds were expected to be built; It has since been cut down to half. But despite the shortfall, Mr Bannah is certain that this will not hamper the projects timely completion.
While the building looks big and complicated from an architectural perspective, the physical design will be simple and all on ground level, making it user friendly to patients and hospital staff.
Groundwork started in January this year after Prime Minister Peter O’Neill launched the three-year project in 2017.