12 March 2023
Yesterday I wrote about the practice of placing still born babies in carboard boxes at the NRH when handing over the dead child to its grieving parents, It is sadly my information that practice continues.
One commentator from the Solomon Islands wrote to me today and described what happened a few years ago.
"My daughter had a still birth about 9 years ago although that incident is still fresh in my mind today. The baby was a girl and she was handed back to us in a cardboard box. I was horrified but did not say anything. To me it was the most degrading and disrespectful act that any hospital can do to anyone's dead baby. It would have been better if they would have wrapped her in a blanket or a cloth and handed her to us, rather than in a cardboard box. They could have asked us for that blanket or a lava lava."
End of quote.
My last duty in the Solomon Islands was on the 18 July 1990, one day before I Ieft the country on the completion of my contract, but since that time I have never forgotten the country or its people and now with age, frailty and serious health issues I still maintain my international website -www.solomonislandsinfocus.com, viewed by millions since it was launched in 1994 and still write to the local press in support of the Solomons and especially the needs of those requiring medical treatment and help with medical equipment and supplies, albeit I have not recently been able to supply the latter because of shipping costs and the termination of a MOU that previously existed between the MHMS and my charity partner in New Zealand, ‘Take my Hands.”
I have never had any official acknowledgement of my website in support of the country, or of any of my letters supporting worthy causes or concerns over health concerns such as NCDs, rheumatic heart disease, the needs of people with disabilities, amputees and screening programmes for early signs of cancer whether breast cancer, cervical cancer, or prostate cancer.
I often think my support by way of my website and letters is akin to “talking to the wind” but I persist in my support to the nation because people do write to me with their concerns and in this letter I think it is now time to bring the collective concerns of the people to notice and it is my hope the government will give serious concern to what the people are demanding.
I will outline the genuine concerns as I have received them, as both questions and demands.
"How expensive is it to get one or more specialist surgeons to work at the National Referral Hospital?"
"How expensive is it to get a Solomon Islander to be trained to undertake cancer operations in the country?"
"Is it because the government cannot afford to bring such surgeons to the country?"
"Is it something that our donor partners cannot support the SIG to make it happen?
"Is it because the government is not prioritizing women's health, especially breast and cervical cancers which are the biggest killers of Solomon Islands women?"
"Is it all or some of the above and if so, why is something not being done?"
The questions put to me collectively by many Solomon Islanders are serious concerns of the people and especially the concerns relating to women's health relative to screening and testing for early signs of breast cancer and cervical cancer, the biggest causes of death of women in the Solomons