Plans to improve the Belau National Hospital building and its services are underway, according to President Surangel Whipps Jr.

In his State of the Republic Address (SORA) last month, President Whipps said the government is making strides to improve the healthcare system, from installing a telehealth system and procuring new equipment to improved care.

“Our Belau National Hospital was built over three decades ago, and we need to build a new one that is at a higher elevation. That’s a long-term goal that we are working toward,” he said.

But improvements that have been made in terms of Palau’s health care are the launch of the new Electronic Health Record System made possible through the help of the Australian government.

A new Telehealth system was also acquired through the partnership with Taiwan, Japan, and New Zealand, including telehealth medical equipment.

Palau also has a new MRI machine and an additional Intensive Care Unit, and a portable X-ray system at the community center in Koror.

Whipps also said the Emergency Radio Communication System with the Southwest Islands has also been enhanced.

At the hospital itself, Whipps said there will be improvements in the roof, water supply system, air conditioning, bathroom upgrades, and maintenance needs.

In 2021,  Whipps signed an executive order establishing a committee that will look into a new location of a new hospital as the Belau National Hospital is at risk due to the impacts of climate change.

 “The location of the Belau National Hospital in Meyuns is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, as the hospital is located very close to sea level and is accessible to most residents of the Republic only by way of the Meyuns causeway, a low-lying thoroughfare,” Whipps said in Executive Order 461.

The president said the “ complex problem” of relocation would also entail financing and public health solutions to ensure the transition to a new location, being the BNH is the lone hospital in the country.

The Belau National Relocation Committee will evaluate new locations, financing, and public health sustainability.

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