Solomon Islands: The National Referral Hospital (NRH) reportedly a step closer to getting its first CT scan.
Solomon Islands National Referral Hospital (NRH) seems to be a step closer to getting its first CT scan thanks to an Australian philanthropist who is reported in the Island Sun newspaper today, Tuesday, to be donating the essential diagnostic tool.
I have been a great advocate of seeing the NRH get such a vital piece of equipment because the referral hospital being the only referral centre in the Solomon Islands has the ultimate medical care of a population now around 640,000 but has been without such an essential tool as a CT scanner since the country attained independence 41 years ago.
By contrast a CT scanner is already in use in Nauru with a tiny population and in Kiribati, Tonga, and Samoa, Papua New Guinea and in Fiji.
A $26 million upgrade to Nauru Hospital was comparatively recently funded by the Australian taxpayers to allow for paediatric, cancer and obstetric services and CT scans.
Nauru has a population of about 11,000 and the upgrade of the hospital and provision of a CT scan was reported to have been undertaken to stop asylum seekers held on the island from having to travel to Australia for medical treatment.
Last July I wrote in the Solomons media to encourage anyone in the Solomon Islands interested to learn more of a CT scan to try and view the documentary series of programmes on U-Tube covering the work of the trauma team of doctors at the Royal London Hospital to get a proper understanding of how essential a CT scan is to the work of those doctors seeking an early and essential diagnosis of an injured person admitted in an emergency.
The documentary series of several episodes is entitled “Trauma Doctors.”
Today’s article in the Island Sun newspaper does not mention the Australian philanthropist said to be donating the CT scan, but it might be recalled that in October last year the Prime Minister, Rick Hou, had welcomed a commitment by an Australian philanthropist to purchase a new Computed Tomography (CT) scan for the National Referral Hospital (NRH).
This was the news release relating to that commitment published in the Island Sun newspaper (quote)
“Lady Primrose Potter the Australian philanthropist shared with the Prime Minister her willingness to raise funds to purchase the CT scan; when she met with the Prime Minister at the Office of the Prime Minister & Cabinet recently.
“She said the CT scan is vital equipment, a diagnostic imaging test used to help detect diseases of the small bowel, colon and other internal organs and is often used to determine the cause of unexplained pain.
“Lady Potter said it is state-of-the-art equipment that is fast, painless, non-invasive and accurate.
“I am willing to assist and I will do my best to help raise funds to purchase a new CT scan for the NRH,” she said.
Prime Minister Hou commented,” It will also cut costs of sending people overseas and also provide surgeons accurate results when testing patients.”
“This is welcoming news and I hope we can be able to work together to get this machine into the country as soon as possible,”
“The Prime Minister said. “Primrose Potter, Lady Potter AC is an Australian philanthropist and arts administrator. She is particularly associated with The Australian Ballet. She is the widow of Sir Ian Potter. Lady Potter is currently Patron-in-Chief of the Solomon Foundation, a charity that supports various social development projects in The Solomon Islands. She was founding Honorary Patron of the Melba Foundation, Founding Patron of the Victorian Opera Company, and Patron of the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art. In the Queen’s Birthday Honors 1988.
“Lady Potter was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for service to the arts and the community.
“In 2003 she was promoted to Companion of the Order (AC) for leadership and for encouragement of support for critical community growth through fundraising and philanthropy in the arts, sciences, education and social welfare.
“In February 2010 the Australian Ballet named its headquarters in South bank, Melbourne, the Primrose Potter Australian Ballet Centre, to honor her 35 years of service to the organisation. She has also been awarded honorary doctorates from Australian Catholic University, and Monash University.”
“Lady Potter was also accompanied on her visit to the Prime Minister by Ian Hosking the founder of the Solomon Foundation. Mr. Hosking has been very instrumental in connecting Solomon Islands with Lady Potter which the Foundation has made vast contributions to the Solomon Islands over the years.”
(Source – Island Sun newspaper)
It now seems the final stage in getting the CT scan to Honiara and the NRH is awaiting a contribution of the SIG of some $11 million, including shipment and installation.
The NRH’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Steve Aumanu, told Island Sun last weekend that Siemens, the company that will supply the machine, is working on the final design for the installation of the machine.
Quoting the Island Sun newspaper on this aspect:
“The indicative cost estimate is around $11 million which will cover getting the machine here and installing it,” Aumanu said.
“In view of and based on initial cost estimates, the Hospital submitted a $10.8 million Contingency Warrant to the Government last December.
“Given it was the dying days of the last government, the proposal appears to have been swept under the carpet,” Aumanu said.
“It has probably expired so we will be preparing another CW to be submitted to the new government after the April 3 national general election. It is our hope that the new government would see the importance of having a CT scan at the Hospital.
“It will cut the cost of having to send samples overseas and waiting time. At the same time it will help doctors greatly in determining illnesses,” Aumanu said.
“A former government minister, Aumanu said the CT scan would be installed in a demountable building at the hospital. This would make it easier to dismount if and when the NRH is relocated to its new site.”
I extend my personal thanks to the donor of the CT scan and to Mr. Hosking of the Solomon Islands Foundation for help in finding a donor willing to donate such a valuable and much needed item of diagnostic equipment.
I would also like to add that I believe the CT scan should come with a maintenance guarantee and that the MoHMS provides the necessary training to all personnel that will operate the CT scan when eventually installed and put to effective use at the NRH.