Posted by : Posted on : 30-Nov-2018

Solomon Islands:� Deeply worrying news about continuing alleged shortages of resources at the National Referral Hospital (NRH)

In todays edition of the Island Sun newspaper there is an article covering claims by a local civil society advocate, Ismael Nori, that he had discharged himself from the NRH saying (quote)

�It is no use being admitted to the NRH.�

He went on to claim that very sick patients were seeking medical help from the hard working but ill resourced doctors and nurses.

�People are dying at the NRH�s medical ward due to lack of resources.� Mr Nori alleged.

Mr Nori said he had made his comments in the light of the Parliamentary Entitlement Commission�s move to increase the terminal grant to 50 Members of Parliament.

(It was announced recently that retiring Members of Parliament would each receive S$400, 000 tax free)

�Our hospital needs more money. One reason why our hospital does not have the right equipment is because the government is not putting enough money in the hospital or medical budget,� Nori commented.

Earlier this week, the Chairman for Bills and Legislation Committee and Member for Parliament for Aoke/Langalanga, Mathew Wale, had also commented in the local media about the �crisis in our health sector.�

When contributing to the 2018 Supplementary Appropriation (No.2) Bill 2018 debate in the Parliament, Mr Wale was reported in the Solomon Star newspaper to have said (quote)

�We have a serious ongoing crisis in our health sector and there is no indication that the Government appreciates the gravity of the situation,� Mr Wale said.

The country�s health crisis has been widely talked about in the local media and in the social media over the past months.

The Solomon Islands Medical Association (SIMA) in July this year made the call that the shortage of medicines and consumables at the NRH has reached crisis point.

At that time, the Prime Minister, Rick Hou, and the health minister insisted there was no crisis in the health system, as doctors continued to battle with months-long drugs and supply shortages.

Mr Wale alleged medicine shortages are but one aspect of the mismanagement of the country�s healthcare system.

There is lack of basic equipment, the work environment is a hazard to our health workers and the neglect of primary healthcare is increasing the pressure on health facilities and the budget.

In the meantime, Non Communicable Diseases are on a very fast and dangerous rise,� Mr Wale said.

He further exclaimed that the role of delineation policy was taking too long to be costed.

However the government must not wait for the costing to be available before allocating adequate funding to the needs in the healthcare system.

�Government can and must start funding some of the urgent and desperate needs,� Mr Wale exclaimed.�

Meanwhile, also commenting in the local media, the Permanent Secretary (PS) of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Dr Tenneth Dalipanda, cited the current situation facing drugs and medical supplies at the National Referral Hospital (NRH) and National Medical Store (NMS) had improved significantly.

Dr Dalipanda wrote (quote)

�Whilst there are still shortages of drugs and medical supplies being experienced the situation continues to improve,� he said.

�We have reached 91 percent availability of stocks of medicines and 76% availability of consumables at the NRH.

�The National Medical Store currently has 91% availability of medicines and 78% availability of consumables. As more stocks arrive, these figures will continue to improve,� he said.

Dr Dalipanda last week responded to comments in the press and social media about the lack of examination gloves that were available at the National Referral Hospital (NRH).

He said, �On the issue of examination glove availability at the National Referral Hospital (NRH), I want the public to know that yes, stocks of examination gloves did run out for a short period.

Additional stocks of these gloves were ordered in July and were expected to be delivered in early October.

They ended up not arriving until 8th of November and supplies were provided to the NRH next day.

�During the period that stocks were out of supply, sterile gloves were made available to the staff at the NRH for use in ensuring infection control throughout the period
,� he said.

On the broader drugs and medical supplies issues, Doctor Dalipanda added that whilst there are still some items that are out of stocks, the situation has greatly improved and continues to improve.

The Ministry�s major tender for drugs and medical supplies, the annual tender was finalised in October and orders for the items tendered have been placed.

Interim order arrangements put in place earlier in the year to cover the gaps in supply coverage that we predicted to occur, have been arriving and will continue to arrive over the coming weeks and months,� Dr Dalipanda said.

He added by saying; �The Ministry has been working hard to rectify drug shortages and stock outs that have occurred during the year.�

�Both the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Australia�s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have provided technical assistance to the Ministry in support of rectifying the shortages that have been experienced and I�m grateful for this support,� Dr Dalipanda concluded.

(Source: Solomon Star newspaper)

During the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) hearing into the 2018 Supplementary Appropriation Bill at Parliament, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Shortland, Christopher Laore, questioning the MOHMS as to how much longer they would wait before capacity and compliance were satisfied at the NRH

At that time MP Laore said, �I feel that the NRH has been neglected for so long. If we think of after moving to the new National Hospital site before we make things progress then I believe the NRH will be run down continuously until it will be not conducive for sick patients.

��The question is how long will the health planners see to it and consider NRH as it is important it provides tertiary hospital services?�

� Primary health care does not work in this country.�

Yours sincerely

Frank Short

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