Why does Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero and her administration continue to ignore the health, welfare and well-being of the residents living in the Southern part of our island? Our Southern residents have had to live without a hospital, dialysis center and adequate public health services for decades. Don’t the people in the Southern villages have a right to lifesaving immediate accessible treatment when injured in an accident; heart attack; stroke; routine dialysis treatments, child birth, maternity care and other emergency and nonemergency treatment. There is disparity in accessibility to these services as they are readily accessible to Central and Northern residents provided by two hospitals, a third hospital (Naval Hospital with limits); and several doctors' clinics. How unfair to continue to ignore our Southern residents' needs – don’t they matter?

The governor proposes to build a mega medical complex in the Central part of Guam. This mega medical complex will combine a new hospital with other Government of Guam departments and agencies i.e., Public Health and Social Services, Mental Health and Substance Abuse, a medical educational campus, among others. These other departments and agencies are already situated in government-built dwellings on government-owned properties.

The governor indicated that the estimate to build the mega medical complex will cost approximately $700 million. Realistically it is estimated by others to be in excess of a billion dollars after the infrastructures, e.g. power substation, sewer and water, roads are built and outfitting the newly built hospital, departments and agencies with the equipment needed to operate.

At a billion-dollar price tag, why can’t the governor instead opt to build a hospital in the South and at the same time build another hospital in Tamuning where the old Guam Memorial Hospital used to sit without incorporating the add-on departments and agencies?

Building a new hospital in the South and another at the old vacant GMH site would serve the people of Guam equitably. Here’s a thought - why not renovate or build a new public health facility in the six acres on government lands being targeted for lease to the Federated States of Micronesia organizations; rebuild the Mangilao Public Health building that’s abandoned; renovate and/or expand the Public Health building in Inalåhan. This makes more sense financially, operationally making hospital treatment and care readily accessible for the Southern residents of our island instead of building a mega medical complex to house existing nonhospital departments and agencies. An added benefit for our Southern residents, they do not have to travel all the way to the hospitals in Tamuning and/or Dededo to be with a family member admitted to the hospitals. This, in itself, is an undue hardship.

Residents in the South, this is our chance to get the government to build a hospital and provide health care services as apparently there is funding to build a hospital to provide the Southern residents with the immediate and adequate emergency and routine care services so desperately needed.

Due diligence and fiscal responsibility must be used in determining the best use of this money. To ensure this, the governor should establish an independent committee comprised of representatives of the medical community, legislators, nongovernmental organizations, community leaders and citizens from respective villages to look at the governor’s proposal and come up with other alternatives or options. This, in effect, would foster transparency and input from other than her administration. At a minimum, this is what a great leader would do. After all, adequate representation is crucial as we all have a stake in how public funds are spent and government services rendered.

Frankie T. Lujan is a resident of Mangilao.


Recommended for you