The Malta Independent 12 July 2024, Friday
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HSBC-funded Clinic opens in Aceh

Malta Independent Monday, 27 June 2005, 00:00 Last update: about 13 years ago

A town in Aceh, Indonesia, that was devastated by the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004 has celebrated the opening of a new HSBC-funded medical centre.

Just a week after it opened, the mobile clinic in Calang was treating up to 100 patients every day.

Calang – a fishing community that saw its population decimated from 14,000 to just 3,000 following the disaster – has struggled to rebuild its shattered infrastructure. Nearly six months after the tragedy, the town’s collection of temporary wooden shelters have no power, water or drainage, with many inhabitants unwilling to move back to sea level from the tents they erected in the hills following the disaster.

Richard McHowat, chief executive of HSBC in Indonesia, says the new clinic is providing a focal point for the whole community. “The clinic is an absolutely essential facility. Before it opened, the town was almost completely deserted and there was only basic tented healthcare available for local people.

“In the past week, the volunteer doctors and nurses manning the clinic have seen a huge increase in the numbers of people coming in to the town to get help.”

Complete with generator and water purifier, the new clinic is air-conditioned, and has an emergency room, laboratory, dispensary and accommodation for up to 12 staff. Its modular structure also means it can be expanded into a 40-room hospital. The clinic was funded by a US$500,000 donation from HSBC in Indonesia. An estimated 70 such facilities are needed on the west coast of Aceh to help the continuing recovery effort.

Ibu Siti Fadilah, Indonesia’s Minister of Health, joined the Minister of Maritime and Fisheries, the Governor of Aceh and the mayor of Calang at the clinic’s official opening. He said: “This must set the standard for future clinics that we need to build in remote areas of Indonesia. I am grateful to HSBC for taking the risk to build something of this quality and put it in one of the most inaccessible places in Aceh.

“You have proven that it can be done and that the private sector and the government can work well together. I hope many others follow your example.” The HSBC Group donated US$1million to the Red the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in the immediate aftermath of the tsunamis last year, and made another US$1 million available to match staff donations to the disaster appeal.

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