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Mala to host Uni

THE status of Atoifi Adventist Hospital in East Kwaio is set to host the first campus of the Pacific Adventist University (PAU) outside neighbouring Papua New Guinea.

A top level delegation, led by PAU Vice Chancellor Dr Raul Lozano, is visiting Atoifi this week for discussions on the idea to set up a PAU campus there – a move expected to bolster Atoifi’s image as a regional institution and East Kwaio’s standing in Solomon Islands.

The five-member PAU delegation arrived in Honiara yesterday (Sunday) and is due to travel to Atoifi today. On the delegation is East Kwaio’s own academic, Lester Asugeni, who has been appointed to head the new Atoifi campus. Until his appointment, Mr Asugeni, was a lecturer at the Port Moresby Campus.

Members of the delegation which include Vice Chancellor Lozano, the Bursar and Mr Asugeni, will meet with East Kwaio Chiefs and landowners on the plan for the new institution, which will be offering courses similar to those PAU’s Konami Park campus outside Port Moresby, is offering.

It is understood part of the plan for the campus at Atoifi is to establish a medical research centre where students and scholars alike can pursue research of their choice in selected medical and related fields.

The visit by Pacific Adventist University follows a similar visit by a delegation of Members of Parliament to Atofi Adventist Hospital two weeks ago. Members of the parliamentary delegation, which included the Leader of the Independent Group, Dr Derek Sikua and the MP for Savo/Russell, Dickson Mua are reportedly impressed with the hospital as well as the Hospital’s School of Nursing, which is being upgraded to a university campus level. Students from all over the country are attending the current School of Nursing.

Atoifi Adventist Hospital was established by the New Zealand Leper Trust Board and administered by the Seventh-Day Adventist Church since the early 60s.

Through its work, the Hospital established satellite clinics throughout East Kwaio and beyond. There was no Government support until in the early 80s when annual grants of about $150, 000 were provided to the hospital.

In 1998, the Solomon Islands Alliance for Change [SIAC] Government increased the annual funding level to $600, 000 based on a new policy to assist Church-run hospitals and health centres, such as Goldie Hospital in Western Province and Sasamunga on Choiseul Province.

At the time the people of East Kwaio were receiving free medical service in an arrangement with the Atoifi Adventist Hospital. Under the arrangement, the then MP for East Kwaio paid the upfront hospital fees for patients from the East Kwaio constituency every year.

The catchment areas for Atoifi Adventist Hospital are the East Are Are Constituency and East Fataleka on the north.