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Penryhn to receive $1.5 million dollar medical centre

Saturday 30 April 2022 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in National, Outer Islands

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Penryhn to receive $1.5 million dollar medical centre
Tongareva (Penrhyn). Photo: Ewan Smith/16041129

Construction of the new Tetautua Medical Centre in Tongareva/Penrhyn is set to commence next month.

This month the contract to construct the Tetautua Medical Centre was awarded to Landholdings Ltd with a contract sum of $1.5 million and an expected completion date of September 2022.

Work is set to start next month.

Penrhyn’s Executive Officer (EO) Puna Vano welcomed the new medical facility for Tetautua.

The old hospital is built so close to the road and there have others issues surrounding its location, said Vano.

Vano is “very happy” that the new hospital will be built.

“I really feel for the people there (on Tetautua), when someone gets ill, and for our pregnant mothers, they have to travel across an 11 kilometre ocean highway to reach Omoka…

“So this is good news for us,” he said.

The development has come about through the combined efforts of CIIC, Infrastructure Cook Islands (ICI) and the Tongareva Island Government, with input from the health ministry Te Marae Ora (TMO).

Secretary of Health Bob Williams said he was “pleased that CIIC and ICI is undertaking this project, so that health services are available to all people including very remote communities like Tetautua.”

Plans for the new $1.5 million Tetautua Medical Centre for Penrhyn. Photo: Supplied/22042901

The project will remedy current inadequacies in the health infrastructure for Tetautua Village and provide effective baseline health services to all residents.

A request for tender to construct the medical centre was issued by ICI in March 2021 and tenders were received in April.

These tenders were then assessed, but for a number of reasons – including land tenure issues and resourcing constraints – procurement was halted.

Later, in September 2021, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was entered into between CIIC and ICI, outlining the various roles and responsibilities for the project.

It was agreed that funding for the medical centre construction would come from ICI, as part of their 2021/22 capital programme, while CIIC would be responsible for project management, with technical assistance from ICI.

The need for CIIC to work closely with the Tongareva Island Government and TMO in delivering this project is a critical part of the MoU, and accordingly a flight was chartered to Tongareva in October 2021 to lay the groundwork for project commencement, as well as to address other matters.

In January 2022, the tender process was then recommenced, with CIIC and ICI re-engaging with the parties who originally tendered by way of a closed tender.

A key feature of the Request for Tender proposal and contract is the requirement of Landholdings to use the local Tongareva and Tetautua workforce. Landholdings will be working with the Tongareva Island Government to achieve this.