Long San clinic to stay put

The Long San Health Clinic will remain where it is. Clinic staff pose for a photo-call with Dennis (standing second from left).

By Jaythaleela K

MIRI, Jan 13: The Long San Health Clinic in Ulu Baram will not be relocated, but continue to operate ‘as usual’ at a temporary site, disclosed Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau.

Dennis also revealed the Sarawak Health Department has decided not to continue with its plan to relocate the clinic to the Samling Central Base camp at Kilometer 10,,popularly known as Kilo 10.

Prior, upon knowing of the plan to move the clinic, Dennis, with Baram MP Anyie Ngau and community leaders led a group comprising local village headmen, the village security and development committee (JKKK) of Long San, and residents from several longhouses nearby to persuade the Health Department not to shift the clinic. Among the reasons given was the large number of students studying at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Datuk Temenggong Lawai Jau and primary school students studying at Sekolah Kebangsaan St Pius.

Long San is also an activity hub for more than 20 longhouses and settlements across Ulu Baram including to get health care services from the Long San clinic.

For the record, the Long San clinic has been providing health care services to Ulu Baram residents even before Sarawak’s independence day, when the clinic was operated by Catholic missionaries.

“Therefore, to stop and move the clinic away from Long San is beyond the imagination of the residents of Long San and the nearby community,” opined Dennis.

Late last year, Dennis also explained to a representative from the Health Department during a dialogue at Long San, that the community is not opposed to what the department plans to do for the best interest of the department’s staff. However, as the clinic has made many contributions to the locals throughout its long history, the residents could not accept it has to be moved away from them.

In response to the request not to move the clinic away from Long San, Minister of Local Government and Housing Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian who holds the watching brief on health matters in Sarawak called for a meeting to look at ways forward.

At the meeting, Dennis proposed several sites that could be use as a temporary site while the clinic cabin is designed and transported to Long San. It may take six months for the clinic to be ready.

Dennis said the clinic, if operating from any building owned by the village, will not be charged any rental fees as a way for the villager leader and community at large to thank the department for agreeing to not move the clinic.

“At the meeting it was decided that rooms behind the village community hall would be used to house the clinic temporarily, while some major equipment and medicine storage are still kept at the building,” he added.

On his visit to the temporary clinic site last Saturday, it was brought to Dennis’ attention that some minor repairs and add-ons to the site needed to be done to make sure staff could operate the best they could and patients’ comfort is taken care of.

Dennis thank Dr Sim, the Sarawak Director of Health, and Miri Division health officer Dr Veronica Lugah for their help to ensure the clinic could still operate in Long San.

On the same note, Dennis also wants the federal government to ensure the construction of the new Long San clinic to be fast-tracked so that the locals could enjoy the best possible health service provide by the government.

“The Long San clinic must be given top priority to have a permanent place as well as condusive staff quarters,” he said.

Accompanying Dennis on the visit was Long San headwoman Lucia Paya Kalang, Long San clinic chief Dr Chin and several Long San JKKK members.

Long San is about five hours’ drive by 4×4 vehicle from Miri city. — DayakDaily