Honiara : 29 November 2016
Letter to the Editor, Island Sun Newspaper and Solomon Star Newspaper.
We see and process news so fast these days with hardly a glance at our daily newspapers, TV programmes and social media platforms without so much as a brief pause and by the next day the stories and events of the day are as good as lost.
There are times, however, when we should just stop at what we see or read and truly reflect on the facts or statistics being presented to us
Last week what I read in your newspaper on 22 November struck home to me quite horribly concerning the mortality rate of young children in the Solomon Islands dying before reaching five years of age, 30 per 1000 births.
The rate of 30 per 1000 births was said to be the second highest child mortality rate in the Western Pacific, just closely behind Papua New Guinea.
The mortality rate quoted translates to 500 child deaths per year.
How long has this very sad death rate been going on and did you know? Has the pain and grieving of the parents of those lost children been healed and does anyone care?
I have no answers myself, but now after 12 months of cooperation between the Departments of Paediatrics and Emergency Medicine and kindly funded by the UNICEF, a guide book has been produced for the first time in the Solomon Islands to support local doctors in providing safe and high quality care to sick children.
The guide book, called ‘The Red Book,’ (The Paediatric Emergency Standard Treatment Algorithms (PNSTA) to give it its correct title) covers the necessary treatment for common serious conditions, including pneumonia, seizures and diarrhoea.
The Red Book is being rolled out to Gizo Hospital this week and other provincial hospitals in early 2017.
The launch of this resource comes at vital time with the recent opening of a dedicated paediatric emergency department set up at the NRH to care for sick children.
This is in addition to two newly trained Emergency Consultants, Dr Patrick Toito’ona and Dr Trina Sale, with a specific interest in paediatric emergency medicine.
They are supported by Dr Titus Nasi, a Paediatric Specialist with a wealth of experience.
The introduction of the PNSTA and the services of the NRH Emergency Consultants are welcome news and it is very much hoped that the mortality rate of children under five will fall rapidly from here on.
Thanks are especially given to UNICEF for funding the PNSTA research and development.