Honiara 7 June 2017
Letter to the Editors, Island Sun and Solomon Star Newspapers.
I am awaiting the full details of the Solomon Islands national statistics development strategy to determine the population figures for Honiara and perhaps the Solomon Islands, but from the latest figures I have to hand there are said to be 84,520 in Honiara (2017) and more than 583,591 in the Solomons.
I compare such figures with the population figures for tiny Nauru (10,000), Kiribati 112,423 (2015) and Samoa 195,662.
What has prompted such research and why these three Pacific countries? Well, all with smaller population figures than the Solomon Islands, they possess something extremely valuable to life saving and medical care that the Solomon Islands National Referral Hospital (NRH) desperately needs and does not have due to a continuing shortage of funds in the MOHMS budget.
According to several private sources, I have been told the NRH desperately needs a CT-Scan machine and a facility to house it.
The call to me prompted me to find out what a CT Scan is and its important uses. Once I had determined its purpose and value I realized how very fortunate I had been to have been treated in Thailand’s main public hospital by using such a diagnostic tool and can now appreciate why it is such an essential item of equipment to be acquired by the NRH.
I am not qualified to give an opinion on a CT- Scan so must quote from professional information available on line. Here is what I found, in brief.
“CT, or CAT scans, are special X-ray tests that produce cross-sectional images of the body using X-rays and a computer. CT scans are also referred to as computerized axial tomography.
“ CT was developed independently by a British engineer named Sir Godfrey Hounsfield and Dr. Alan Cormack. It has become a mainstay for diagnosing medical diseases.
“CT scanners first began to be installed in 1974. CT scanners have vastly improved patient comfort because a scan can be done quickly. Improvements have led to higher-resolution images, which assist the doctor in making a diagnosis. For example, the CT scan can help doctors to visualize small nodules or tumors, which they cannot see with a plain film X-ray.
“CT scanning combines special x-ray equipment with sophisticated computers to produce multiple images or pictures of the head and brain. Physicians use CT of the head to detect bleeding, swelling, brain injury and skull fractures.”
Given the spate of assaults and resultant head injuries that I read about constantly in the local media, I can guess that the NRH must be greatly handicapped when it comes to properly diagnosing and treating patients admitted with head and bodily trauma.
A CT Scan comes with a hefty price tag but if what I have been told, then it occurs to me that the SIG, with perhaps donor support from traditional partners such as the EU, the governments of Japan, Australia, New Zealand and the ROC, should seriously help the NRH acquire a CT Scan and a facility to house it ahead of less important but considered priorities of the DCCG.
Let me add that the Government of the Republic of China (ROC) has been at the forefront of help to the NRH in recent times and I issue a plea for further help.
The NRH is really the sole, national health care facility with the staff, capacity and with the means and the responsibility to see to the medical care and treatment of a population of 600,000 plus, but if true what I have been told, it seems it has one hand tied behind its back.
Please help, and I do thank all those governments, donors and the SIG for past aid to the NRH and the sick in the Solomon Islands.