A new medical dispensary opened its doors to the people of Angaur on Wednesday, to treat locals with sickness or injury.
Angaur State Governor Kennosuke Suzuky said the new medical dispensary was a long time coming.
“In 2019, we spoke to the National Government to bring a dispensary back to Angaur,” Governor Suzuky said. “Today, it’s a reality.”
Nurse Akisi, who comes from Fiji, will be permanently stationed at the dispensary to attend to locals’ medical needs.
The Minister of Health, Emais Roberts, recalled when he visited the island of Angaur in previous years. The old dispensary was run-down, he said, and the only medical staff on island struggled to take blood pressure. “We hope now that people who have minor illnesses can be treated right here,” the minister said, “and transportation to the hospital in Koror will be reserved for those with serious cases.”
Various officials from the national government, as well as representatives from the United States, Australia, and India, who contributed financially to the project, attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday morning.
President Tommy Remengesau, along with members of his cabinet, arrived on Angaur on Tuesday, stayed the evening in Angaur’s various homestays, and held their weekly press-conference early on Wednesday before the ribbon-cutting ceremony. It was, according to the President, the first time a presidential press conference was held outside of Koror State.
President Remengesau thanked Angaur for their patience with the National Government in addressing the island’s needs.
He went on to cite a variety of projects on the island which have either been completed or are currently underway by the National Government and the Angaur State Government. These include the power cables which run underneath the ground rather than above it, in order to protect from typhoon damage and to help preserve the island’s distinctive jungle canopy.
He also mentioned the ongoing repair of the Angaur State Dock, which suffered heavy damage from typhoons, and the construction of a monkey sanctuary in the north of the island.
For the sanctuary, he praised Governor Suzuky for “thinking outside of the box” to simultaneously keep the invasive macaques away from people’s crops as well as protect the unique wildlife in what could become a tourist attraction.
Remengesau also said that the Angaur visit had been an excellent showcase of domestic tourism.
“With all of us coming here, last night every one of Angaur’s homestays was filled,” the President said. “That’s not even to mention the business which was brought to the island’s shops. With many countries around the world building up their domestic tourism market, why not Palau?”
In reference to the slow but steady progress of Angaur and the rest of the islands of Palau, Minister Roberts quoted a Chinese saying. “We want to run, but at times, not all of us can. During those times, you can walk. You can crawl. But just don’t stop.”