130 births with unsupervised deliveries every month
Quoting the Island Sun newspaper – 11 June 2019
“One hundred and thirty (130) births occur each month in the country reportedly attended to by unskilled health workers.
“This is according to the 2018 Health Core Indicator report from the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS).
“The report indicates that in monitoring access to care and predicting maternal and infant health outcomes, nine percent of births are not attended to by skilled health workers.
“These skilled health workers are doctors, nurses, nurse aid or midwife.
“This means, that on average, 130 births take place each month without suitable health worker supervision and care.
“The report stated that 27 percent of all births occurring in Guadalcanal are done without adequate health worker supervision and 100 percent in Renbel province.”
Copyright @ 2019, Island Sun newspaper.
Cook Islands move to ban single-use plastic
Quoting Radio New Zealand – 11 June 2019
“A Bill banning single use plastics is set to go before the Cook Islands Parliament before the end of the year.
“The policy was drafted by Infrastructure Cook Islands and has been approved by Cabinet for inclusion in the Solid and Hazardous Waste Bill due to be tabled by Christmas.
“The ban will include lightweight plastic shopping bags and other plastic products like straws, cutlery, containers, plates, cups and polystyrene containers as well as products containing plastic microbeads.
“Diane Charlie-Puna, from Infrastructure Cook Islands, said the country couldn't continue ignoring the effects of plastic pollution on the food chain, health and the serious plastic issue in the ocean as well as the burden of non-biodegradable waste littering islands and filling landfills.
“She said proper waste management started at the point of production or for the Cook Islands case, the point of entry.
“Ms Charlie-Puna said with readily available alternatives, there was now no excuse.
"This is a great milestone for us as a country and one that we should be proud of."
Copyright © 2019, Radio New Zealand
11 June 2019
Solomon Islands: Broad challenges lie ahead for the DCGA
The newly formed DCGA faces some tough challenges ahead in regard to foreign policy, climate change, unemployment, development, tourism, health care and revenue generation, to express things generally.
Here are a few observations:
The former Prime Minister, the Hon Danny Philip, highlighted the important geo-political dynamics in the Pacific when he contributed to the sine die motion in Parliament recently.
His concern arose due to China’s growing influence in the Pacific and the government has said it is considering its relationship with Taiwan but it will not be pressured and will make a decision on the matter within 100 days.
His Excellency the Governor General used his speech at the Queen’s Birthday Ceremony last Friday, to express his concerns over climate change and the way global warming, despite sound scientific evidence, including in the United States, is being ignored to the detriment of the Solomon Islands and its neighbouring smaller Pacific States.
Today, one reads that the MP for the Vatud Constituency, Freda Tuki, has called for more attention from the government to the plight of her constituents in the Temotu, Vatud Constituency.
She said the effects of climate change and sea level rise on our islands is a concern.
She added that the islands of Tikopia, Anuta, Duff and Lord Howe and Sikaiana are already badly affected with one quarters of the islands beginning to be covered by the sea.
“The threat of sea level rise is real. It has threatened our clean, safe water and food security.”
The CITREC programme is continuing to help women from Guadalcanal Province gain work in Canada but not to the extent that it is having a major impact on the local unemployment situation and clearly labour mobility needs to be stepped-up to allow far more Solomon Islanders to become gainfully employed overseas, including in Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
Some years ago I remember reading a piece by a Solomon Islander, David Gegeo from Malaita on the subject of development and I’ll quote his remarks.
“A common complaint of some outside developers and other business entrepreneurs working in Melanesia is that Solomon Islanders, like many other groups in the Pacific, are very difficult to deal with when it comes to the issue of land. This difficulty, they argue, has to do with the fact that land is owned not by one person only but by clans or by people who believe they belong to the same genealogy. More often than not, the developers complain, the outcomes are negative, and time is wasted on what outsiders perceive to be meaningless genealogical talk. There is no doubt that to those unaccustomed to traditional ways of negotiating, Solomon Islanders are increasingly becoming a hat kes ("hard case"), in the parlance of the national lingua franca. They may seem more this way to employees of transnational corporations who, in addition to being driven by the incentive to make a quick profit, operate at an aggressively fast pace: anything that stands in their way of getting down to "business as usual" must either be expeditiously dealt with as soon as possible or abandoned. Fortunately - or unfortunately, depending on your stand - removing the "obstacles" has been relatively easy for the transnational corporations. In the rural areas, for instance, where cultural and linguistic barriers tend to be more daunting than in urban areas, most businesses, international or otherwise, expeditiously make business deals with local landowners less through the logic and ethics of party negotiation than through bribery. One bribery strategy that some transnational corporations have reportedly used is to co-opt a landowner and his family by showing them bundles of dollars even before any negotiation is under way.”
The Solomon Islands PM has recently praised the landowners for their support with the Tina River project and similar words of appreciation over the Bina Harbour project and with landowners in respect of the Gold Ridge Mine.
Land ownership remains a major issue to be overcome if the country is to see major development and respect for land rights and ownership will be really put to the test in any future political relationship that could also impinge on sovereign rights.
The DCGA has announced it will be giving priority to the most pressing needs of the NRH and health care shortcomings in its first 100 days and I have welcomed such assurances, albeit like the TSI I have concerns as to how the much needed reforms can be effectively funded.
With dwindling revenue returns expected from the diminishing log exports and reducing fish resources, tourism has the potential to aid the economy but more work needs to be done to market the Solomon Islands, more beds are needed and better infrastructure provided to see a real growth in tourist numbers.
The latest tourism figures show arrivals dropped by 23% during the first quarters of 2019, compared to the 4th quarter a year ago
According to the National Statistics Office (NSO) Arrivals by country of residence for the first quarter 2019 showed that Australians (37.9%) remain the largest group of visitors to the Solomon Islands. There was a 14.0% decrease to 2,279 in Australian visitors compared to the fourth quarter of 2018.
The next largest group of visitors were from Asia (12.4%), followed by New Zealand (7.4%), Other Pacific (7.1%), Fiji (6.3%), United States of America (5.8%), and China (5.0%).
11 June 2019
Kiwi Company Wins Bid to Power Rural Areas in the Solomon Islands
According to an article published in today’s ecition of the Solomon Times on Line, a New Zealand sustainable energy company Infratec has won a joint bid to deliver renewable electricity generation for the first time to four outer islands in the Solomons.
Quoting the article it read:
“The project will bring affordable, reliable, and clean energy to people in the remote Malaita, Makira/Ulawa, Sasamunga and Western Provinces, along with significant economic and social gains.
“In a 50/50 Joint Venture, Infratec and Sunergise subsidiary Clay Energy (a Fiji-based renewable energy solutions company) will design, procure and build four solar-diesel hybrid power plants over the next two years.
“Infratec Chief Executive Greg Visser says the project is about providing electricity and infrastructure on outer islands that currently have limited or no power.
“The project is funded 50/50 by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) and Solomon Power.
“Their goal, and ours, is to realise the economic and societal benefits of renewable energy for the people of the Solomons,” Greg Visser says.
“While the Solomon Islands have renewable energy resources including geothermal, hydro, solar, ocean, and biomass, most of these have not yet been tapped; the country remains almost entirely dependent on imported petroleum fuels, providing 95% of electricity generation,” he says.
“Energy costs in the Solomons are amongst the highest in the world and the highest in the Pacific. The high cost of electricity and the limited reach of the distribution grid are slowing economic growth and hampering community development.”
“Sunergise Chief Operating Officer Bruce Clay says, “We are looking forward to working with Solomon Power and MFAT in providing sustainable electricity access to the rural communities of the Solomon Islands.”
“The project will bring reliable power to more than 1000 homes as well as hospitals and health clinics, small businesses, schools and vocational training centres.
“That means better health services due to lighting in clinics and improved ability to store vaccines, improved education outcomes due to lighting and communication services in schools, improved security due to public lighting, increased economic activity such as small businesses generating additional income and employment opportunities during the project construction stage, and increased empowerment of women, who receive proportionally higher benefits from increased access to energy.
“About 35 people will be involved in the design and construction of the four power plants, including about 15 jobs for local people on the ground in the Solomons. The JV partners have committed to employ people from the local communities for the construction phase wherever possible, with a focus on opportunities for women.
“They have also committed to work with local communities to deliver a programme to help reduce the incidence of sexually transmitted infection and diseases, in particular HIV and Aids.
“This is the kind of work we love to do, for the good of communities, people and the planet — our projects are always about environmental sustainability and community health and wellbeing, not just the mechanical components,” Greg Visser says.
“The project design stage is beginning straight away and the JV partners expect the first plant to be operating around July next year, with many of the community benefits felt much sooner than that.”
‘Climate change affects Vatud people too’
Quoting the Solomon Star newspaper – 11 June 2019
“With the continuous rise on the effects of climate change in the Solomon Islands, Vatud Constituency MP Freda Tuki is calling for more attention from the government and responsible authorities.
“The Ministry of Women, Youth, Children & Family Affairs Minister stated this in Parliament, during last week’s Sine Die Motion.
“This is a very big concern for us.
“It is an issue of great concern for me as a leader of my constituency, Temotu Vatud.
“The effects of climate change and sea level rise on our islands is a concern,” said Ms Tuki.
“She added that the islands of Tikopia, Anuta, Duff, Lord Howe and Sikaiana are badly affected with one quarter of islands beginning to be covered by sea.
“The threat of sea level rise is real. It has threatened our clean, safe water and food security.”
Copyright @2019, Solomon Star News.