The Cook Islands' Secretary of Health says hospital refurbishment's have made a positive difference in the island's healthcare services.
Bob Williams said the completion of the Pukapuka Hospital has helped the people of both Pukapuka and Nassau significantly.
The newly upgraded facilities now provide about 25 per cent more space, with four extra rooms added to the hospital complex.
Pukapuka Hospital now has a new maternity ward and delivery room, men's and women's wards, a kitchen and a dental clinic.
Bathroom and shower areas have also been upgraded, the waiting area has been extended, and a 50,000-litre underground concrete water tank has been installed.
Although Pukapuka Hospital officially opened in February, Bob Williams said since then the standard of care that has been delivered has risen substantially.
Estimated total costs for the project were $1 million, covering labour and materials, including vinyl flooring which was imported from England after the New Zealand suppliers were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Te Marae Ora have sourced new beds and other equipment for the hospital, while the Prime Minister also raised support from the government of Japan to help furnish the new building.
The concept for the new Pukapuka Hospital was first developed in 2015, with project implementation commencing in 2019.
Challenges arose in 2020 due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on shipping and the availability of materials, which also coincided with a run on building supplies in Rarotonga as the construction industry there ramped up business during this period.
This in turn affected the project schedule, resulting in a nine-month construction period.