The efforts of the East New Britain Provincial Government were commended as the two buildings, worth K700,000, were opened at Butuwin in Kokopo District.
The occasion also saw the contractor, Jacom Building and Construction Company, handing over the certification of completion of the facilities to the ENB Controller and Provincial Administrator, Wilson Matava, and then to Governor Nakikus Konga.
“I would like to commend efforts by the ENB provincial government and provincial administration to build the facility in a record time of three weeks,” Wong said.
He said in a time when Papua New Guinea is facing an unknown enemy, and when the first COVID-19 case was detected in the province, he had confidence in the leadership on the ground to come good and make it happen, which is something ENB has proven in past disasters.
“From a Health Minister’s point of view, I have to give credit to the people of ENB and how lucky we are to have leadership in the province during this time of emergency.”
He said with ENB people being resilient, they did not run away and hide in their houses but instantly put its technical officers to work on the facilities at Butuwin, including the Isolation Facility at Takubar.
“The controller was running around making sure money was available and getting us politicians into line to make sure we put everything into place for our people,” Minister Wong said.
“But in saying that, we must not be complacent. If it is not COVID-19, it will be something else. We must now put facilities in place for our future, making sure our people are looked after well,” Minister Wong reminded.
He said other provinces can learn from ENB’s experiences, adding the government is working on a ‘living with COVID-19 plan’ which will be implemented at the provincial and ward levels.
He stated this is not only a health plan but will incorporate plans from all departments and will complement the objectives of autonomy and decentralisation.
Wong stressed that these plans are here to stay because COVID-19 is here to stay and the country has to learn to adapt and live with it.