Posted by : Posted on : 23-Jun-2020

Solomon  Islands:  A further appeal for a Rehabilitation Workshop at the National Referral Hospital (NRH)

Your readers may well have read a press release from the Solomon Islands National Referral Hospital this week which told how the Solomon Forest Association (SFA) had responded positively to an appeal I made in the local and international media for walking aids for amputees at the NRH and in the provinces.

The SFA procured, bought and shipped 300 metal frame crutches from overseas and they were officially handed over to Dr John Hue the NRH’s Medical Superintendent last Monday.

The walking aids will, I am told, help amputee patients, in the hospital and those already discharged to move along more freely and help towards their rehabilitation.

To really improve mobility an artificial limb is the best way to compensate for the loss of a leg or an arm, but artificial limbs are no longer being made and fitted at the NRH because the workshop that was designed and fitted out for the purpose of rehabilitation has been demolished due to age and long-term termite infestation.

I am very grateful to the SFA for readily stepping in to provide the 300 crutches but I wish to see amputees really have the flexibility to be able to manage their daily activities, to improve further their mobility and become truly independent with a prosthetic device.

I  understand, as I have mentioned previously, the NRH had three technicians trained in India to make prosthetics but as their place of work, the former rehabilitation workshop no longer remains, it is understood they might have been laid off.

Prior to the appeal for temporary walking aids by way of crutches, I had mentioned in correspondence with Dr Hue to hope of getting the NRH a 20 or 40 foot metal shipping container and having it fitted out as a rehabilitation facility.  Dr Hue agreed that such an idea would be practical, being strong, durable, termite resistant and portable.

Now the SFA’s assistance has allowed many amputees a greater degree of movement in their daily lives, I would like to further appeal to the wider local and international community, including close development partners of the Solomon Islands, to provide a custom made rehabilitation workshop to the NRH to meet the needs of the many amputees still facing uncertain futures by reason of their disabilities.

The Covid-19 threat, although real and potentially threatening, has seen the over-night construction of a series of pre-fabricated buildings at the Solomon Ports and more now serving as a quarantine facility at the International Airport. Just one of such type pre-fabricated buildings, is fitted out, could provide the much needed relief demanded for many years  at the country’s only referral hospital accommodating the medical service needs of a population now over 680,00 people.

The real life problems faced by former and current NRH amputee patients are not potential ones but real life challenges that impede rehabilitation and support, in many instances, for family members dependent on the amputees work to provide income.

Do please help such a worthy cause.

Yours sincerely

Frank Short

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