8 February 2020
Seeking speedy and practical measures to assist patients with leg amputations
As readers will know I have often written about the plight of those former patients of the Solomon Islands Referral Hospital, and those still in the hospital, that have undergone surgery and had a lower limb amputated.
There are known to be several hundred suffering the loss of a leg and handicapped in life or retained in hospital prior to their discharge because of the shortage of walking aids such as crutches or wheel chairs.
In recent days I have been in touch with the Medical Superintendent at the NRH about the ongoing need for walking aids and also been trying to find a donor, or donors, that might possibly assist.
Since the old mobility workshop became derelict at the NRH it has been demolished and there is seen to be a need for a portable facility to replace it.
It has again occurred to me that a metal container, say 2O ft in length, converted into a workshop, could meet the present and ongoing needs at the NRH for the making of prosthetic limbs utilizing the skills of the three technicians that recently returned from overseas having been trained to manufacture prosthetic limbs.
I sounded out the Medical Superintendent at the NRH on such an idea and he was in general agreement.
Now arises the issue of getting such a 20 ft container, fitting it out as a workshop and having it delivered to the NRH.
Would anyone in the Solomon Islands, or anyone or organization externally, consider such much needed assistance?
It has been far too long that now disabled people without a leg have had to endure their handicap and often lost work chances as a result of their impairment.
Please will someone, somewhere, come to help?
The idea of getting crutches, as an alternative means of help, is still in mind but I am hoping the container solution I have outlined will be met and adopted.
8 February 2020
Acquiring hearing aids to help Solomon Islanders with hearing difficulties
Some weeks ago I wrote about the need for hearing aids for those in the Solomon Islands communities that have impaired hearing and hearing loss, especially affecting several young children.
In the United States I know of one or more charity organizations that donate hearing aids to those with such disabilities and I wrote to the US Consulate in Port Moresby seeking to get some assistance.
Apart from an initial reply to my request saying I would receive a further reply, I have not heard anything more, despite a second letter from myself.
Now that Her Excellency the new United States Ambassador to the Solomon Islands has assumed office in the Port Moresby Embassy, I would encourage either the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, or the Solomon Islands Association for the Deaf, to seek advice and possible help from the US Embassy in trying to get hearing aids for those with deafness handicapping their lives and likely education at home.
The US Ambassador recently met with Prime Minister Sogavare and assured him of US assistance in ongoing development assistance to the Solomon Islands. I consider health assistance to be in that context and especially as the MOMS has too few speciallists to deal with deafness.
Solomon Islands: No confirmed Coronavirus cases in Rennell: MHMS
Quoting the Solomon Star newspaper – 8 February 2020
“RESULTS of the four 4 suspected Coronavirus cases on board MV Expert berthing at Rennell, Renbell province has turned out negative.
“A statement from the Ministry of Health and Medical Services said the result was received late Thursday 06th Feb 2020 at 5:47pm by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) after a 72 hours waiting period.
“The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health Mrs. Pauline McNeil said,
”The public can now be rest assured that the results of the 4 suspected cases have all been negative with no detection of Coronavirus.:
“The Ministry of Health and Medical Services received the results of the 4 suspected cases from our collaborating partner, the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory (VIDRL) based in Melbourne, Australia.”
Copyright @ 2020, Solomon Star News.
8 February 2020
Fulfilling the need for economic well being of Solomon Islanders.
When the Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare launched the “EziPei” eWallet service at the Heritage Park Hotel last Wednesday morning he said the Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement (DCGA) recognised the need for the improvement of the economic well-being of women, youth and the rural population.
He stressed that,” Our people are marginalized by the long distance and rough weather that makes travel very difficult and at times risky.”
“Those contribute to the economic and social challenges that we encounter every day,” he stated.
Mr Sogavare also expressed the government’s continuous support of initiatives to ensure the lives of the people would be positively impacted.
A decade ago in 2010, the then Solomon Islands Government sought help from the World Bank in investigating future growth prospects at home in order to better achieve the very same objectives recently highlighted by the Prime Minister.
In a subsequent report from the World Bank there was set out a strategic vision for future growth, equity and stability. The report was written to align with the then policy objectives of the government and to appeal to donor partners.
It was significant in reading that report that the same geographical disadvantages, as mentioned last week by the Prime Minister, were raised and it was mentioned, along with several other factors, such as limited capacity for regulatory and economic reform, little could be expected in the medium term.
In the event, the medium time prediction from the World Bank have proven to be long term when it comes to alleviating the geographical barriers still marginalising the people in the rural areas of the country.
The same World Bank report went on to comment on other aspects that was considered would best realise opportunities for Solomon Islanders. I will quote just a few examples:
“Solomon Islands’ best prospects lie in realizing opportunities in areas where it has an existing advantage, and improving flows of people, resources, and ideas within the country and regionally.”
“Future economic growth in Solomon Islands will come from four primary sources: A vibrant smallholder agriculture sector. Most Solomon Islanders will continue to rely on smallholder agriculture for incomes and livelihoods. Improving productivity of smallholder agriculture is vital for food security and livelihoods. But even with the best policies, this growth will not be sufficient to provide economic opportunities for all, nor sufficient revenues to enable the Government to meet commitments for service delivery.”
“Solomon Islands is well endowed with natural resources, including world class tourism potential, forests and fisheries, gold and nickel. But good outcomes from exploiting these advantages are far from assured.”
“The chances of good outcomes will improve if the right policy and regulatory arrangements are in place to ensure that resource owners gain a fair share of benefits, and that Government is able to capture revenues and spend them equitably on public services. If natural resource industries are well integrated into local supply chains, they will also provide a major source of demand for local businesses.”
“Growth in the local private sector will not be sufficient to provide jobs for the rapidly growing labor force. For many Solomon Islanders the best prospects for well-paid, productive employment may lie overseas. Closer integration of the Solomon Islands labor market with regional partners is a key objective. Short-term regional labor schemes can lead to remittances and the acquisition of skills that benefit the local economy. In the longer-run, integration would allow Solomon Island workers to make the best use of their skills and partner countries to address growing labor shortages in key sectors.”
“The development and an increasingly international workforce is unlikely to be sufficient to deliver economic opportunities and Government revenues required to meet public expectations on income and service delivery. Aid will continue to play a vital role in addressing shortfalls in fiscal resources and capacity across public administration, security, infrastructure, and social services. Aid in these areas will be necessary for the foreseeable future to realize the potential benefits from other sources of growth.”
“Recognizing the central and long-term role of aid, along with further innovations in approaches, will make it possible to more predictably and effectively promote better public administration and political accountability, and provide an added stimulus to the local private sector.”
“Improved power and water supply will both reduce the cost of business and better cope with growing populations.”
I sense the World Bank report and strategic guidelines still supports the SIG’s policy aims and plans and there is some evidence of this by citing the Tina River Hydro power project to ensure future power and water supplies; the first steps in creating an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) with supportive legislation to see to accountability, the fostering of aid with a view to development and infrastructure improvements across the country and ongoing moves to address labour shortages and secure overseas work opportunities, albeit progress is slow in this regard to-date.
Recently nineteen (19) Solomon Islanders successfully completed a two-week Labour Mobility International Preparation course with the Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC), aimed at preparing them to live and work in Australia under the Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS).
This I viewed as a step in the right direction.
The soon to be introduced broadband internet services is seen as another step in improving communications and connectivity, which can only benefit opportunities for business and employment.
Once building efficient connections between centers of economic activity and surrounding populations occurs, benefits from sources of growth will be maximized if the cost of movement of people, goods and services are reduced. This could enable people to take up employment opportunities, or to set up businesses supplying ancillary goods and services to growth industries.
7 February 2020
Tina River Hydropower project reportedly beginning to deliver jobs
It has been reported in the Solomon Islands mainstream media that construction has commenced on the access roadway to the US$200 million, plus, Tina River Hydropower project site some 20 km southeast of the national capital, Honiara and with the promise of several job opportunities.
Overall the Tina River Hydropower Development Project is expected to create at least 440 jobs during the construction phase, which will benefit the economy of the Solomon Islands and the livelihoods of local people.
The project is the first public private partnership infrastructure project in Solomon Islands and opens the door for more, which will support much needed development, offering Solomon Islanders a better standard of living and more opportunities,