Work on a new expanded quarantine and isolation unit for Covid-19 patients at Mt Hagen Hospital has started.
The new unit is to take on an anticipated increase in the number of Covid-19 patients which the current quarantine ward and tent and the isolation unit may not be able to accommodate due to limited space. The isolation unit has room for 12 beds while the quarantine ward and tent can only accommodate 8 and 10 beds respectively.
Two Mt Hagen-based companies – Kemele Constructions and PNG Springsmith – have been contracted to build the 24-bed unit which is expected to take at least six to eight weeks to complete.
Both companies whose bids were successful through a public tender process signed their contracts recently. Kemele would work on the concrete slab and cover the walls and roof while PNG Springsmith would put up the steel frames.
The unit which will cost about K1.3 million has been funded by the Western Highlands Provincial Covid-19 Co-ordination Committee and will be built on the Mt Hagen Hospital campus in three different phases.
Chief Executive Officer of the Western Highlands Provincial Health Authority, David Vorst has thanked the Provincial Covid-19 Co-ordination Committee for approving his request for funding of the unit as it would help to stop the spread of the virus in the province.
He said if this unit was not built and there was an influx of Covid-19 patients (which the Authority is anticipating due to current trends of widespread community transmission in the country), there would be complete chaos in the province.
He also said that when the virus is completely eradicated, the building would be used as a warehouse to store drugs and other medical consumables so what was being spent was not a waste.