Posted by : Posted on : 14-Jul-2020

Solomon Islands:  Capacity building and the fight against Covid-19

The unseen killer disease Covid-19 came about unexpectedly earlier this year and its spread throughout the world has seen many deaths and the toll on lives, on livelihoods, on economies and on movements continues to give cause for serious concern.

The Solomon Islands remains free from Covid-19 and much credit goes to the Government, to the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MOHMS), and to the people but especially to those partners of the Solomon Islands that stepped-up initially, and continually do so, with capacity building support by way of finance, resources and equipment.

I might be forgiven if I fail to mention all such partners, but I do know of the assistance of Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Japan, China (PRC), the Asia Development Bank (ADB), the World Bank and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The Solomon Islands owes a great debt of gratitude to all its many friends for the capacity support received in terms of equipment, facilities, finance, transportation, testing, training and added skills knowledge.

I wrote last week giving news that the Solomon Forest Association (SFA) had once more answered an appeal with a promise of a 20 ft x 16 ft modular container for the National Referral Hospital to be used in replacement of the previous Rehabilitation Workshop that had been used in earlier years for the making and custom fitting of artificial limbs to patients that had undergone surgery following contracting diabetes.

Once the modular facility is delivered, expected in the middle of next month, I envisage the hospital will need to acquire new tools and equipment to begin making prosthetics for the many patients, and former patients, needing still awaiting an artificial leg.

My partner charity in New Zealand, ‘Take My Hands’ has kindly offered to help in whatever way it can with capacity building since ‘Take My Hands’ has close links with Limbless Associations in New Zealand.

For the past few months, I have endevoured to obtain free hearing aids for those in the Solomon Islands that have some degree of disability by way of hearing loss and could benefit from a hearing device.

The Ear Science Institute in Western Australia has very generously offered to supply hearing aids to the Solomon Islands and sent a request form to the MOHM’s ENT Department to be completed and to assess what might be considered suitable for supply.

The ENT Department is needing to build-up its capacity resources and, perhaps, training, to better accommodate the hearing aids on offer.

In view of the really tremendous capacity building support given to the Solomon Islands Government and the MOHMS since commencing the fight against the threat of Covid-19, I would please ask those same ‘friends’ to ensure the hospital’s ENT Department is urgently given the capacity measures that seem to be lacking to allow hearing aids to be delivered as soon as possible.

It has been said that the deaf community in the Solomon Islands has been the most neglected amongst those with a degree of disability.

Please let us change that perception and help, as requested.

Yours sincerely

Frank Short

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