Hospital gets new facility

GMA Construction representatives hand over the “key” to MOHHS Secretary Jack Niedenthal at the christening of the new National Stockpile Warehouse. Photo: Eve Burns.

EVE BURNS

Ministry of Health and Human Services (MOHHS) held a christening ceremony of a newly renovated extension of their Strategic National Stockpile Warehouse Tuesday.

The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) funded the building renovation and GMA Construction did the work. The warehouse will also serve as an office building for MOHHS surveillance and supply teams.
Present at the ceremony were US Embassy Chargè Jeremiah Knight, Acting President Jiba Kabua, GMA staff, MOHHS staff and JICA officials.

Pastor Biwij John delivered the opening prayer and Fracyne Wase-Jacklick emceed the ceremony.
Health Secretary Jack Niedenthal gave recognition to acting President Jiba Kabua, MOHHS Minister Joe Bejang, GMA construction team, IOM’s Angela Saunders and MOHHS staff. He also gave recognition to US Embassy for funding to extend the warehouse to help RMI better prepare for the next outbreak of diseases.

He also welcomed and recognized the JICA group who will be working on and assessing the main area of hospital building including the lobby and outpatient areas. The hospital is having problems with its roof leaking, in part due to location of solar gear on it, and the JICA team will be looking at that as well as other renovations needed.

“Actually it’s never stopped, we went from Covid, right into RSV, ILI and also the flu, so we really never stop dealing with diseases,” said Jack. “We managed to get US CDC funding for the building, it’s so needed. If you see the way we’re storing our supplies now over there, it’s not really a warehouse. It’s just kind of a renovated clinic and it’s just been packed, it’s always packed.”

He said the new warehouse set up will allow MOHHS staff to properly organize supplies — something that has been impossible in the cramped facilities used prior to this week’s opening of the new facility.
He expressed his gratitude to the medical staff for all that they have been through. “My last four years as secretary of health, it’s been like no other time in the history of the world, let alone the Marshall Islands where we’ve had 38 months of state of health emergency. That has never happened before, but it began for us in August 2019.”

Jack expressed how proud he is of the people he works with. “My hat’s off to all the people I work with.”

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