During the groundbreaking ceremony for the National Stadium held last week, the Chinese Ambassador to the Solomon Island, H.E. Li Ming, spoke about the efforts his government was making to maximize the benefits to the Solomon Islands government.
Ambassador Ming spoke particularly how China had most recently provided the SI with a large amount of medical suppliers, including vaccines to try and help contain Covid-19 on the Solomon’s door step.
Ambassador Li ended his speech by saying, and I quote.
“The Chinese people are embarking on a new journey to build a modern socialist country with new vision, new development pattern and high quality and China will always be there on the path of development of Solomon Islands.”
End of quote.
The reference to a socialist country got me thinking and to me it means a state in which the welfare of the people in such matters as social security, health and education, housing, and working conditions is the responsibility of the government.
If my thinking is correct, then how will the Solomon Islands government faced with a weak economic situation, heightened by the onset of the coronavirus pandemic world-wide, be able to fix the deficiencies that exist in the health sector, and I have in mind, as I have often raised, the derelict non-functioning rural health clinics and some rural health centres, plus deficiencies at the National Referral Hospital and the rehabilitation needs of hundreds of amputees without a Rehabilitation Workshop to manufacture and custom fit prosthetic limbs?
Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the United States, along with several international agencies such the WHO, UNDP and lender banks have all done much and continue to aid the Solomon Islands, including the health sector, but concerns I have for rural health facilities, the NRH and for amputees, still remain.
China has demonstrated with the supply of medical supplies and vaccines that my understanding of a socialist state with health matters in the hands of the government maybe too narrow.
Would it be asking too much of the Chinese government in terms of its promised help with “development” to address the failings in the health sector I have highlighted?
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