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Tour shows critical needs not being met

KOROR, Palau (Palau Horizon, May 4, 2009) – Aimeliik Delegate Kalistus Ngirturong, Chairman of the Committee on Health & Education (H&E) of the House of Delegates, accompanied by HOD Vice Speaker Alex Merep, H&E Vice Chairman Jerry Nabeyama and Ngchesar Delegate Secilil Eldebechel, Member had a fact finding tour of the Belau National Hospital and became aware of the many critical shortages facing the Ministry of Health in fulfilling its main function of delivering Public Health services to the Republic.

Health Minister Dr. Stevenson Kuartei and staff presented a detailed briefing of the current state of the hospital, including the many structural defects of the various hospital buildings as well as shortages of essential medicines, equipments and supplies.

According to Minister Kuartei the Ministry of Health cannot continue to deliver basic Public Health services at current funding levels and appealed to the delegates for better understating of the risks involved if immediate funds are not made available. Minister Kuartei said, "The ministry may have to lay off some MOH employees" in response to shortage of funds in order to meet the minimal inventory lists of critical medicines and supplies.

Delegate Ngirturong expressed grave concern over the hospital situation and said the problem demands greater attention of the National Leadership of the Executive Branch and both houses of the Olbiil Era Kelulau.

Hospital Administrator Nick Ngwal commented that they are appreciative of the fact this is the first time members of the House of Delegates of the OEK responded to their request to tour the hospital facilities and better understand the critical needs affecting delivery of Public Health services.

Delegate Ngirturong believes that we should work hard to increase funding for the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education in the coming years as these are the two most important government services for our people.

To better serve the people of Palau in these critical areas of government services, Delegate Ngirturong says "We have to aggressively look for additional revenue sources." In line with this, the House of Delegates are putting priority emphasis on all legislations that aim to bring new funding to the economy, such as Palau Condominium Property Act and the Corporate Registry Act.

The House of Delegates, during their last session day, passed on the second reading these bills and now the Committee on Commerce and Trade, chaired by Ngeremlengui Delegate Swenny Ongidobel is getting them ready for passage on the critical third and final reading. Delegate Ongidobel says that, "We are working to address all concerns from every delegate to assure passage of these important bills on final reading in the next day session."

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