Ministry of Health officials are scrambling to address a fault in the sewer outlet of the new hospital in Navua in order to avert a major health crisis.
Residents near the hospital at Namelimeli on the Queens Highway say the fault has seen raw sewerage being redirected to discharge into a creek nearby, which is a key source of bathing and food for more than 300 villagers in the area.
When a team from this magazine visited the hospital, it observed liquid waste flowing out of the hospital’s septic tank onto a concrete drain that discharges into the creek, some 20 metres away.
Beside the septic tank is a house, which is securely locked that local residents say houses the waste reticulation plant. The machine has been defective for ages, they say.
Nearby residents say they first noticed sewer in the creek about a month ago, and alerted hospital officials. They said Ministry of Health environmental health officers visited the defective plant last month but did nothing.
In the absence of an official warning, the three villages that use the creek, namely Namelimeli, Nabau and Naveivatuloa have warned villagers to stay clear from using the creek for bathing or fishing.
Questions sent to the Ministry of Health about the health scare last Monday have still not been answered. However a resident near the hospital told Islands Business today that health officials were at the hospital on the Monday afternoon, which is the day the magazine sent their questions to the Ministry.
Officials were again dispatched to Navua Hospital yesterday and they reportedly took samples of the water in the creek with them to their headquarters in Suva. Residents say the headman of Namelimeli village has announced that health officials would be in the village this evening for a meeting, and they do not know what the purpose of the meeting was.
In our questions sent to the Ministry of Health’s media office last Monday, we asked the following questions:
By Anish Chand
FOR many years, Guam depended on the government-run Guam Memorial Hospital for medical care. But due to limited services offered at the problematic public hospital, several Guam patients had to seek medical treatment in off-island institutions.
The health care landscape changed when the privatelyowned Guam Regional Medical City opened in summer last year. GRMC is a 130-bed acute care facility operated by The Medical City—a world-class medical institution in the Philippines. It took almost 10 years to build the $240-million hospital, a project initiated by Guam businessman Peter Sgro, chairman of the Guam Healthcare and Hospital Development Foundation.
GRMC is headed by Margaret Bengzon, president and CEO of the GRMC and a senior member of The Medical City’s management team. Prior to her engagement with The Medical City, Bengzon was a consultant for the Philippine Foundation for Health and Development, with specialisation in the areas of health policy, health finance and hospital management.
Her prestigious roster of clients included the World Health Organisation, the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Harvard Medical Institute, AWO International / BMZ (German Ministry for Economic Cooperation), and the Philippine Department of Health. But health care has not always been Bengzon’s scene.
She was a banker by training. After graduating from Ateneo de Manila University, Bengzon moved to New York, where she served as vice president of the Financial Services Group of Chemical Banking Corp. When the company entered into a merger that gave birth to what is now known as JP Morgan Chase Bank, the Bengzons moved back to the Philippines in 1998. Margaret Bengzon headed the bank’s local headquarters. Years later, she found herself at The Medical City.
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