14 February 2020
Solomon Islands: Access and equality in justice for all.
The Solomon Islands Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs, Paul Mae, was quoted today in the Solomon Star newspaper has having made some fundamental statements about the justice system when speaking during the recent review of the justice sector’s draft Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) Strategy.
Quoting some of the Star’s article:
“All Solomon Islanders should have equal access to justice no matter their gender, age, disability or remoteness of their village.”
I expect few will disagree with what Dr Mae reportedly said but perhaps one or two issues he raised need to be examined a little more carefully.
Yes, the Family Protection Act was introduced but what success has there been in seeing a reduction in family and domestic violence, or for a reduction in sexual offences for that matter, as dealt with in terms of the Penal Code.
Inhibition in reporting family and domestic violence continues due to various culture practices, intimidation and payback.
One regrettably reads of more alleged sexual offences occurring almost daily, even one today, Friday, allegedly involving an incident involving a young child.
His Honour the Chief Justice, Sir Albert Palmer, recently expressed his disappointment on the zero allocation to the Judiciary in the Government’s 2020 development budget.
The Opposition leader Matthew Wale said he supported the Chief Justice’s disappointment and called on the Government to invest more in the Judiciary.
Mr Wale expressed the view that government had neglected the role of the Judiciary for too long.
“The Judiciary is the third arm of government and its role in providing a functional haven for our people to access justice when their rights have been violated either by the Government or others, is crucial,” Mr Wale said.
For all Solomon Islanders to have equal access to justice no matter their gender, age, disability or remoteness of their village, the judiciary needs to be given a greater access to budget allocations and more effort needs to go into encouraging those that have suffered family or domestic violence to come forward and be given the necessary protection of the law.
Perhaps more funds are needed to help such caring bodies such as the Family Support Centre and the Christian Care Centre that do so much in caring for women and girls that have endured abuse at home.
Tougher sentences need to be introduced to punish sexual offenders, especially in terms of criminal conduct against children.
One would hope, too, the united Christian churches in the Solomon Islands would speak out more on domestic violence and the social abuses that lead to such criminal acts.
14 February 2020
Solomon Islands: Preventative medicine is seen as fundamental in support of the MHMS operational planning.
The Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) on Wednesday launched its consolidated Annual Operation Plans (AOP) for the year 2020.
Speaking at the launching Permanent Secretary Pauline McNeil said the 2020 AOP and Budget set out the focus of efforts and Ministry’s organisational commitments for the current fiscal year.
“Consistent with our National Health Strategic Plan (NHSP) 2016-2020, RDP Policy as well as the priorities of the DCGA, the AOP 2020 is the result of input from the various departments, divisions, including NRH and the Provincial Health Service and Development Partners,” she said.
McNeil said this year, the ministry would want to build on the successes of 2019 in increasing its budgetary execution, utilisation and implementation rate by delivering on a 25% rate each quarter.
She said in 2019, utilisation rates have improved as compared to previous years.”
I saw it as significant that the Permanent Secretary ended her address by saying, “Let us all work together to build on the improvement that we achieved in 2019. 2020 will be an exciting year as we as it will be the final year of our current NHSP and we will all be heavily involved in developing a new strategic health plan covering the next five years from 2021 to 2025.”
“We need the next NHSP to build on the success of the last NHSP whilst also covering emerging issues and refocused government priorities.”
Source: Solomon Star News.
As a young policeman I was always taught, and subsequently practiced, looking after the contraventions of the law (the minor offences) helped in stopping the bigger offences occurring.
The same principle I believe is needed to be followed in terms of health services.
The large majority of the major health concerns in the Solomon Islands, such as heart conditions, stroke, liver diseases, throat diseases, diabetes and cancer are medical issues that take up so much of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services annual budget, not mentioning the degree of hospitalisation and care needed by our dedicated medical professions, including nurses and ancillary support services , but preventative medicine and practices could help minimise the greater number of health problems that now occur.
Non-communicable diseases, such as I have mentioned, needs to be addressed with improved public health awareness measures and the community must become much more aware of taking responsibility for their own health.
What do I mean by referring to preventative medicine?
Well, it’s essentially a medical speciality which focuses on the health of individuals and communities.
The goal of preventive medicine is to promote health and well-being and prevent disease, disability and death.
Preventive medicine specialists are medical doctors or doctors of who possess expertise in a broad range of health care skills, including biostatistics, epidemiology, planning and evaluation of health services, management of health care organizations, research, and the practice of prevention in clinical settings. They apply their knowledge and skills in medicine, social, economic, and behavioral sciences to improve the health and quality of life of individuals, families, communities and populations through disease prevention and health promotion.
In general, preventive care refers to measures taken to prevent diseases instead of curing or treating the symptoms.
Primary prevention aims to avoid the development of a disease or disability in healthy individuals.2 Most population-based health promotion activities, such as encouraging less consumption of sugars to reduce caries risk, are primary preventive measures. Other examples of primary prevention in medicine and dentistry include the use of fluoridated toothpaste, and vaccinations for infectious diseases like measles, mumps, rubella, and polio.
The focus of secondary prevention is early disease detection, making it possible to prevent the worsening of the disease and the emergence of symptoms, or to minimize complications and limit disabilities before the disease becomes severe.
Secondary prevention also includes the detection of disease in asymptomatic patients with screening or diagnostic testing and preventing the spread of communicable diseases. Examples in dentistry and medicine include screening for caries, periodontal screening and recording for periodontal disease, and screening for breast and cervical cancer.
At the risk of my repeating previous letters written about dietary changes and lifestyle changes to prevent the onset of NCD’s, I do urge everyone to make changes to their lives and habits to reduce the risk of illness that is preventable.
Also for women and girls do take advantage of the screening programmes available for breast and cervical cancer. I am aware of the cultural aspects that often influence avoiding such screening, but to remain healthy one just not miss the opportunity of being examined.
The same early screening for men is important and all men of over 40 should consider having what is known as a PSA test and a rectal examination on an annual basis at least to detect and prevent prostate cancer developing. Early detection can save lives in regard to breast, cervical cancer and prostate cancer.
Let me almost conclude this piece by reporting that the medical charity organization known by the name of ‘Sea Mercy’ will begin trial operations in the Solomon Islands more remote regions of the Western Province and Isabel this May.
Sea Mercy will be providing free medical and dental care to 300 plus isolated island to the benefit of more than 80,000 people.
It is possible that Sea Mercy will also attend to eye problems and give out eye glasses to the needy.
Finally, the medical services in the Solomon Islands are under increasing pressure to take care of our health but really the onus is on all of us to prevent illness by simply following changes to our diet by cutting out sugary drinks, reducing fat intake, drinking in moderation, stopping smoking and chewing beetle nuts, eating more fresh vegetables and fruit and getting more exercise.
‘Justice in SI needs improvement’
Quoting the Solomon Star newspaper – 14 February 2020
“ALL Solomon Islanders should have equal access to justice no matter their gender, age, disability or remoteness of their village.
“This was highlighted by the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs, Paul Mae during a final review of the justice sector’s draft Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) Strategy, Wednesday.
“Improving access to justice for all Solomon Islanders is a crucial initiative and the ministry is looking forward to working closely with the wider justice sector to achieve it, Dr Mae said.
“The justice sector has an important role to play in contributing to the national effort to improve gender equality and social inclusion, especially by making sure all Solomon Islanders are equal when it comes to accessing justice,” he said.
“At the heart of these efforts is our belief in fairness. After All making sure there is fairness in our society is a fundamental purpose and function of the justice system,” he added.
“Dr Mae added that he hoped that in his time as PS the strategy would lead to some real and practical changes.”
Copyright @ 2020, Solomon Star News.
MSG seeks new head for secretariat as Vila summit looms
Quoting Radio New Zealand – 14 February 2020
“The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) is advertising for a new director-general of its secretariat.
“That follows the announcement by the current director-general, Fiji's Amena Yauvoli, that he would step down in April.
“Mr Yauvoli made the announcement at this week's meeting of MSG foreign ministers in Suva.
“Vanuatu's representative at the meeting, Ralph Regenvanu, said the position was being advertised immediately.
“He confirmed that his country would host the next MSG leaders summit in Port Vila at the end of April, after Vanuatu's general election.
“At that point, Vanuatu would take over from Papua New Guinea as chair of the MSG.
“At the summit, leaders are expected to deliberate on the appointment of a new director-general of its Vila-based secretariat.
“The MSG's five full members are PNG, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia's FLNKS Kanaks movement.”
Copyright @ 2020, Radio New Zealand.
3 Immigration officers reportedly suspended over alleged breach of virus regulation
“THREE Solomon Islands Immigration Officers were suspended for alleged insubordination against the gazetted regulations restricting the entry of any person who have been to countries that have confirmed cases of coronavirus.
“This was confirmed by reliable sources within the government circle on Thursday.
“According to the government source they were suspended by the Core Ministries Coordinating Committee (CMCC) under the Prime Minister’s Office.
“The Committee consist of Permanent Secretaries and very senior Officials from the key government ministries.”
Copyright @ 2020, Solomon Star News.