Donor assistance needed to help rebuild or restore the Solomon Islands rural health clinics

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DEAR EDITOR, quoting a report broadcast today, 23 March 2018, by Radio New Zealand International, the Solomon Islands Government is planning to slash the health budget by $US4.16 million dollars.

“The Ministry of Health’s Permanent secretary, Tenneth Dalipanda, said such a cut will put considerable pressure on service delivery.

“He told the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation that one thing it would curtail is the building of clinics.

“Dr Dalipanda said this comes amid the prospect of a continuing reduction in donor support for the health sector.”

More than 80% of the Solomon Islands population lives in rural areas with little or no work and increasingly denied access to proper medical care due to the broken down state of the country’s more than 130 rural health clinics built during the Colonial era.

The latest budget cuts, brought about once again by the cash-strapped Solomon Islands Government being unable to balance its books and reportedly having lost important revenue in the logging sector, as highlighted by one MP this last week, will mean a further deprivation of health care to the rural communities, especially as Dr Dalipada has predicted the budget cuts will curtail the building of health clinics and, presumably, the renovation of the ones now in disrepair.

For a country soon to celebrate its 40th year of independence it is really a very sad picture of what is prevailing in the rural health care sector.

It is my earnest hope that the countries with close diplomatic relations will soon aid the Solomon Islands with a re-building programme and provide new or restored health care clinics in the country’s rural areas.

Both France and Israel’s diplomatic Ambassadors accredited to the Solomon Islands recently promised aid the health care needs of the Solomon Islands and I would please appeal to both countries to step in and help the long suffering rural communities.

Yours sincerely

FRANK SHORT

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