The new look Kolovai Health Centre on the western district of Tongatapu was re-opened on Friday 4th October after over $20,000 pa’anga grant from Australian Government towards refurbishments, which included an extension to the building, a new entrance and ramp, re-tiling, plumbing, paint, furnishings and medical equipment.
Minister of Health, Hon Lord Tu‘i‘afitu and First Secretary from the aid program of the Australian High Commission in Nuku’alofa, Scott McLennan attended the opening hosted by the Kolovai community and the Ministry of Health.
“Non-Communicable Diseases such as diabetes and heart disease are reaching epidemic levels in Tonga, claiming the lives of many people. “Health centres like this one are helping to halt this increase in illness.” Mr McLennan said.
The refurbishments included the provision of medical equipment, an extension to the building, the construction of a new entrance and ramp, re-tiling, plumbing, paint and furnishings.
Kolovai Health Centre is expected to provide important health services to 10 villages in the western district (Hihifo) which consists of 558 households. It is the fourth centre after Houma, Nukunuku and Kolonga Health Centres were refurbished in 2011, with assistance from the Australian Government. Fua’amotu Health Centre is up next.
In 2009 the Australian Government committed AU$7.5 million to improve healthcare in Tonga through the Tonga Health Systems Support Program that addresses the rise in diabetes, strokes and hyper-tension.
The program had developed an Advanced Diploma of Nursing in non-communicable diseases with the help of Professor Jill White of the University of Sydney with 20 local nurses taking part in a 30-week course, which ends in December.
Dr Toakase Fakakovikaetau, the NCDs Community Health Coordinator, said early next year there should a nurse trained in prevention and treatment of NCDs in every health centre across Tonga.