Posted by : Posted on : 21-Jul-2020

Working conditions at a rural health clinic highlighted as “very difficult.”

Writing a piece in today’s Solomon Times, Jeremy Gwao, in another of his touching stories, tells how a nurse with over 20 yrs nursing service finds her working conditions at the rural clinic in North Vella la Vella, ‘very difficult.”

The clinic needs to be refurbished as the building was only built for temporary use. This was after the 2007 earthquake and tsunami in the western province.

“Waste disposal is an issue and the maternity room is just not suitable for mothers to give birth in”, the nurse told Jeremy during an interview.

The nurse also revealed during her interview, she receives 15 patients a day and tries as much as possible to make sure her medical supply does not run out before new supplies arrive.

The only wish is to see an upgrade of the village health clinic, she said.

Jeremy’s story went on to add weight to health service concerns I have so often raised, especially concerns regarding rural health clinics and rural health centres.

Quoting Jeremy’s words.

 “The integrated people-centred health service case study (conducted in the Western Province?) says many health centres are run down with up to 70 percent requiring upgrade, repair or renovation. The report says there were no new consistent standards for quality of health facilities and some new facilities were being built without reference to national policies.

“Over 50 percent of the national health workforce are nurses or nurse aides with two thirds of them in the provinces.

“Currently the government has adopted Universal Health Coverage (UHC) as the guiding principle for the provision of health services in the country.

“The goal of UHC is to ensure that everyone in the country has access to a package of quality health services without falling into financial hardship by paying for them.

“To achieve this goal, a key strategy was outlined by the Government in the National Health Strategic Plan 2011-15 to move towards the ‘packaging of services’ at different levels of care.

“This theme was also continued in the 2016-20 National Health Strategic Plan (NHSP). The plan was focussed on improving child and maternal health outcomes by addressing communicable diseases and responding to noncommunicable diseases, with the aim of improving the health of the population, especially those most vulnerable and isolated.

“The Ministry for Health and Medical Services (MHMS) should by now be also working on developing a process for formal registration of new health facilities.

“The registration process will mean that facilities established after the adoption of the Role Delineation Policy will only be supported by the MHMS in relation to staffing and/or provision of drugs and medical supplies, if they are formally registered by the MHMS.

“Registration will be aimed at ensuring that facilities are built where they are needed, rather than on the basis of political or community influence.

“Facility Registration will also require that facilities meet minimum standards for health facilities (to be developed) in the Solomon Islands.


In October 2011, a dedication service was held on Vella Lavella Island, Solomon Islands after HMNZS RESOLUTION delivered a memorial plaque commemorating the Kiwis who lost their lives in the WWII battle to liberate the island. 

Fifteen New Zealand servicemen were killed during a Japanese bombing attack in Niarovai Bay, Vella Lavella on 1 October 1943. They were buried on the island and later re-interred at Bourail War Cemetery in New Caledonia.

NZ High Commission staff and NZ Defence Force personnel serving in the Solomon Islands began a restoration project in 2011 to have a replacement plaque erected at the site.

A new stone plaque was made in New Zealand replicating the original wording and adding new information about the post-war history of the memorial.

The memorial is one of the very few physical reminders of the significant role that New Zealand servicemen played during the campaign to liberate Vella Lavella from the Japanese.

Yours sincerely

Frank Short

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