Letter to the Editor, Solomon Star Newspaper.
For the past few weeks I have had the misfortune to have spent considerable time seeing doctors’ and getting medical treatment at more than one of Bangkok’s central hospitals, but counted myself fortunate to have had the availability of medical specialists and been accommodated in state of the art medical facilities.
On more than one occasion during my hospital visits, after the 5 April 2016, I thought of the report you published in your newspaper that day of the critical needs of the Gwaunaoa Rural Health Centre in west Kwara’ae, Malaita Province, when your reporter quoted Nathaniel Maegwari, the clinic’s technical officer, as saying (and I quote).
“The current poor electrical supply at the clinic has put medical staff responsibilities at risk.”
“This has forced medical staff at the clinic to use torches or kerosene lamps during night time, when attending to emergency cases such as maternity.”
“This clinic is not safe for pregnant mothers, children and sick patients because there is no electricity or solar power to provide lighting and for the medical machines and equipment.”
Mr Maegwari went on to report the health centre serves the needs of more than 6,400 people coming from as far afield as Kwaisuliniu, Fote, Gwaitaba’a, Airahu Rural Training Centre (ARTC), Bio, Kwaunaoa, Buma, Koa, Corol, Fuliabu, Aitea, Namanfata, Aimomoko, Faifatla’a and Gwaidae.
I do not know the specific needs of the clinic in terms of the electrical needs but I have initiated enquiries to determine the desperate requirements of such a vital rural health centre, if what Mr Maegwari has reported is an accurate situation.
Mr Maegwari has appealed, along with his clinic’s committee, for donor support to rectify the conditions at the hospital and to facilitate better and safer medical services for the many patients, including women needing ongoing medical treatment and, often, emergency treatment.
I, too, associate with Mr Maegwari’s plea for assistance and I especially turn to the Governments of Japan and the Republic of China (Taiwan), or any of the major commercial companies with assets in the Solomon Islands, along with the Honourable Member of Parliament for the area, in asking for urgent and sustained help for the Gwaunaoa Rural Health Centre.
In the longer term the MOH/NRH and Provincial Hospitals will have a lifeline with the aid of the New Zealand Charitable Trust, ‘Take My Hands,’ if a MOU can be agreed upon to freight containers of medical supplies and equipment, subject to acceptable shipping rates, but the help from New Zealand would not cover the provisioning of electrical equipment and, in the past, as recently at Koviloko, individual citizens and Members of Parliament, along with the Governments' of Australia, Japan and the Republic of China (Taiwan) have aided rural communities with solar power units.
Do please help, I humbly request, the 6,400 people at risk and aid the clinic’s electrical power needs