Reflecting on Taiwan’s 10 years of medical assistance to the Solomon Islands

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DEAR EDITOR, in September this year Taiwan set up a $US2 million medical fund to boost co-operation with countries in the Pacific Islands Forum, including the Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands, all six being diplomatic allies of Taiwan.

It was announced at the time the medical fund was set-up that all Forum members could apply for funding to support medical teams from Taiwan travelling to their countries to provide medical services at Republic of China (ROC) embassies or representative offices.

Soon after Taiwan had announced the creation of the medical fund, a Taiwanese mobile medical team visited the Solomon Islands and spent 8 days touring Small Malaita where the team did much good work in treating a large number of patients and providing advice on infectious diseases.

At the time of that visit I wrote and expressed my personal thanks for the excellent and very timely work the medical team did in aiding the rural population in Small Malaita.

I am not aware that there has been any further visits by a fresh medical team and I remain concerned for the health needs of rural communities in Isabel Province in the Western Province and on Russell Island in particular, given the broken down state of the Tatamba medical clinic, the Panueli medical clinic and the many derelict and abandoned medical clinics in the Western Province.

If I am correct in believing the last medical team visit was the one undertaken in Small Malaita over two months ago, could some indication be given by the Taiwanese Embassy or the Solomon Islands Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) when a new visit, or visits, will resume given the funding that was allocated for such visits at the inception of the medical fund I have mentioned?

I am well aware, and appreciative, of all that Taiwan is doing to support the National Referral Hospital (NRH) and with outreach programmes advising schools and communities on diet and proper nutrition to help offset diabetes and health complications arising from non-communicable diseases.

I was especially appreciative of Taiwan’s help to the NRH in upgrading the Dengue laboratory and for lectures on mosquito borne diseases.

I am mindful, too, that the Dengue laboratory at the NRH was set up after the first big dengue outbreak in 2013 and designed by the Tropical Medicine Center (TMC) of Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital (KMUH) under a grant support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Taiwan.

Yours sincerely

Frank Short

 

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