Posted by : Posted on : 05-Aug-2019

Charity support leads to the provision of a CT-Scan for the Solomon Islands National Referral Hospital (NRH)

Writing in the Solomon Star newspaper, today, Bryan Luvena, said the Solomon Islands government, through the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) has commenced initial work for the establishment of a CT-Scan at the National Referral Hospital (NRH) by November 2020.

Quoting the article, it went on to say:

“This was revealed by the Head of Medical Imaging Department at NRH Dr Aaron Oritaimae in a statement over the weekend.

“As part of the project commencement, a tender has been placed for the design for the new complex and a contractor over the past week.

“Dr Oritaimae said a contractor has been identified to carry out the construction work once the design is approved.

“He said it is expected construction work will take about 14 months before the installation of the equipment which is scheduled to be around November 2020.

“He said a space to construct the new complex to house the CT Scan has been identified.

He added there is now funding commitment from Government for the building.

“The Solomon Foundation which is a charity organization in Australia, led by Lady Primrose Porter has enough funds to procure a new CT machine,” he said.

“As part of preparing for the project two medical officers are currently mid-way in their specialist training and they are expected to qualify as radiologist at the end of next year.

“Three local radiographers have been selected to undergo CT training and they have started with on-line training,” he said.

“Dr Oritaimae added a request for one expatriate radiologist and CT –technologist has been made to Government for recruitment.

“The specific role of these expatriate staff is to support the Medical Imaging Department to establish the services, supervise, mentor and train local staff at the work place, contextualized to local needs and situation,” he said.

“The head of the Imaging Department said once the CT Scan is completed it would benefit the country.

“He highlighted the country is experiencing an epidemiological transition and faces a double disease burden with a high prevalence of communicable diseases and at the same time, rapid growth in the rates of non-communicable diseases (NCD) such as diabetes, ischemic heart disease hypertension, stroke, cancers, neurological conditions, infective conditions and trauma.

“So the challenges to provide an accurate, timely and better assessment of these conditions continue to affect the hospital ability to provide better care,” he said.

“He highlighted that lack of accurate assessment has resulted in patients been referred overseas for CT-scan imaging costing between SBD 20,000-00 to SBD 36,000-00, compared to SBD$970-00, if the service is done locally.

“Dr Oritaimae said the department had documented that between 20-39% presenting to the National referral Hospital per year would require CT–scan imaging for diagnosis, staging and or monitor the progression of diseases.

“We conducted a survey from 2015-2017 and found that during that period, General Surgical Department recorded a total of 4333 admissions, 1043 cases needed CT –imaging (24%).

“Of the 1605 cases admitted through the Emergency Department in 2017, 20 % needed CT-imaging.

“The department of Medicine reported that 1340/3656(36%) patients admitted into the Unit from 2015-2017 required CT-imaging.

“The current high prevalence of Non-Communicable disease, such as diabetes, hypertension, stroke, Ischemic heart disease, increasing cancers are complex diseases with comorbid conditions that would benefit from CT assessments,” he said.

“He added CT assessment and results help informs Doctors on the likely causes, extend and complications.

“These information provided to the Doctors in a timely manner, guides the Doctor in making effective clinical decisions,” he said.

“The CT Scan project comes under the National Health Strategic Plan 2016-2020.

“Dr Oritaimae said the CT Scan project was recommended for implementation since 2012. But due to huge cost and lack of Government’s commitment, it has never been implemented.

“In addition, it was generally felt that the timing was not right to establish such a services which is highly technical and it would require resources and capacity to establish and maintain.

“In 2018, it was felt that the timing was right to establish the service. There was a full commitment from the Government and the capacity to establish and maintain the services was evident and appears feasible,” he said.”

I, too, express my very grateful thanks to the Solomon Foundation and to Lady Primrose for such a generous donation of funds to acquire the much needed CT scan for use at the NRH.

Yours sincerely

Frank Short

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