18 April 2019
The Global Child Nutrition Foundation hoping to initiate a survey in the Solomon Islands.
I have been contacted by a Survey Associate for the Global Child Nutrition Foundation, based in Seattle in the United States and provided with the following information.
“GCNF has launched the Global Survey of School Meal Programs this year. Through this survey, we intend to cover large scale school feeding programs in countries all over the world including those that currently have no school feeding activities. The survey is designed to be filled in by a Survey Focal point and since we focus on National Government ownership and involvement, the Focal Point person is generally a Government Representative from the Ministry of Education who is involved with the school feeding program in the country.
“We were hoping to initiate the survey in Solomon Islands; however, we have been attempting to identify the government official from the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development to whom we can address our invitation to.
Could I please request the relevant government official to contact me via the link in my website www.solomonislandsinfocus.com and supply his/her name, position, email and possibly a contact telephone number?
Once I get the information I will gladly contact the GCNF and give the details to the person that wrote to me seeking help in making contact.
18 April 2019
The Solomons National Referral Hospital (NRH) without a rehabilitation workshop to manufacture much needed prosthetic limbs for hundreds of former amputee patients
Last week, and not for the first time I had raised my deep concerns, I wrote to the local media saying there were more than 400 former patients of the NRH that had had a their lower limb surgically removed either from the consequences of having suffered from diabetes or from some physical injury.
I explained those patients had not been able to be fitted with prosthetic limbs to aid their mobility because the rehabilitation workshop at the NRH was lying derelict after white ant infestation.
In the same article I suggested that it could be a possible solution to convert a 40 foot steel shipping container, at minimum cost, as a suitable workshop and one that would be safe against white ants.
I was pleased to read today that Motivation Australia, a charity based NGO, had confirmed to Radio New Zealand what I had outlined earlier.
Quoting Radio New Zealand the news bulletin read:
“Motivation Australia estimates hundreds of prosthetics are needed in the Solomons to address a diabetes crisis but it said there was no way to make them locally.
“The Pacific suffers from high rates of diabetes related amputations and health services are often unable to cope.
“Motivation's chief executive Kylie Mines said in Solomon Islands, many people were going without artificial limbs since the recent shutdown of the country's only prosthetics workshop.
"Unfortunately, the situation in the Solomons at the moment is that those people are being discharged and returning home without a means of mobility, or they may be prescribed with a wheelchair," Ms Mines said.”
I doubt many of those former patients have been given a wheel chair despite trying to have more sent o the NRH through my partner charity in New Zealand, Take My Hands.
There are more to come from TMH in the next container with the 50 hospital beds still to be released by the New Zealand hospital but even when they do arrive the priority needs for wheel chairs in the surgical ward of the NRH will see most, if not all, kept by the hospital.
TMH has strong ties with several organisations in New Zealand and is willing to help with the supply and fitting of prosthetics and to work closely with Motivation Australia to help the former patients still lacking proper mobility since their discharge from hospital.
The major obstacle to the deplorable situation is the need for a replacement rehabilitation workshop and so I would earnestly request the appropriate authorities such as the Solomon Islands Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MoHMS) along with the Solomon Islands Government to consider my suggestion of using a sound, converted 40 foot container as a workshop until the time when a replacement one might be possible.
There is a Solomon Islander trained in the manufacture and fitting of prosthetics who underwent lengthy training in India, supported during that time by Motivation Australia, but who has not been given a formal appointment by the Solomon Islands Government due to the shortage of a suitable rehabilitation facility.
Fiji sets up trust fund for climate change victims
Quoting Radio New Zealand – 17 April 2019
“The Fiji government has set up a trust fund to pay for the relocation of villages threatened by climate change.
“FBC News reported Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum saying the fund was catered for in this year's budget.
“Mr Sayed-Khaiyum told the Ministerial Finance Dialogue at the United Nations in New York that a small percentage of money would be taken from the Environment and Climate Adaptation levy to finance the fund.
“Forty-three villages in Fiji are threatened by sea level rise and have to be moved to higher ground, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.
“The fund would also be available for climate adaptation measures and to ensure any relocations put people in positions to develop sustainable livelihoods”, he said.”
Copyright @ 2019, Radio New Zealand.
17 April 2019
'Cancerous and addictive' WHO issues betel nut, tobacco warning
In the Solomon Islands betel nut is grown locally and the selling of betel nuts provides an essential source of income for many households. Often, betel nut sellers, who are outside the formal economy, have few other economic alternatives to generate income.
Money from betel nut sales often goes towards school fees and food, medicine and other household expenses.
By totally banning betel nut consumption, household incomes may decline, contributing to increased poverty, as the ability to afford household necessities also decreases.
Policy initiatives to curb demand, such as through regulation and legislation,
Including the banning of its sale, also present its own sets of problems.
A more appropriate platform for action might be public awareness, education, communication and advocacy (World Health Organization). This may include strengthening communication and advocacy activities by using role models to convey the important messages of the dangers of betel nut, particularly the link to cancer.
The cancer link to chewing betel nut was emphasized in a warning issued by the WHO and broadcast by Radio New Zealand on 17 April 2019.
Quoting from the news bulletin the message relating to the health risk of chewing betel nut and cancer was evident.
“The combination of betel nut and tobacco is heightening dangers to health because both substances contain cancer causing agents and are addictive, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says.
“A recent meeting in Palau heard rates of oral cancer in under 40-year-olds who use both substances is escalating.
“It also heard children as young as six are chewing betel nut in some countries.
A technical officer at the WHO in Fiji, Ada Moadsiria, said some people chewed betel nut with tobacco while others smoked soon after chewing the nut, which has psychoactive properties.
“Co-use raised the danger to health, Dr Moadsiria said.
"The nicotine in the tobacco is already an addictive substance but then arecoline, which is found in betel nut, is actually also causing dopamine release and therefore dependence on this product," she said.
"So, not only is it increasing risk of cancer but it's also increasing risk of addictiveness."
“The WHO is working with Pacific governments to identify policies and legislation to address public health concerns related to betel nut, Dr Moadsiria said.
“The WHO also has free online courses for health professionals to help them learn more about how to identify betel nut use and signs of oral cancer among their patients, she said.”
Copyright @ 2019, Radio New Zealand
Fiji and Australia sign deal over Blackrock
Quoting Radio New Zealand – 17 April 2019
“The Fiji and Australian governments have signed a deal that formalises their cooperation in the redevelopment of Fiji's Blackrock military training centre.
“The aim of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) is to transform Blackrock into a regional hub for police and peacekeeping training and pre-deployment preparation.
“In a joint statement, the countries said the redevelopment of Blackrock would enhance Fiji's capacity for global peacekeeping operations and its ability to respond to natural disasters in the region.
“Blackrock will also be used to increase interoperability between the countries' security forces.
"We will continue to work together to finalise the design of the Camp and move into the construction phase," they said.
"Fiji and Australia's Defence partnership is integral to contributing to enhanced security capability in the Pacific region through training, maritime security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and peacekeeping operations."
Copyright @ 2019, Radio New Zealand.