Rural health care as a fundamental human right

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DEAR EDITOR, Ms Ruth Liloqula, the chair of Transparency Solomon Islands (TSI) in recent days told the SIBC and Radio New Zealand International that allegedly local MPs are using foreign aid and development projects to divert public attention away from the misuse of domestic funds.

While she was reportedly not criticising overseas development partners and welcomed their assistance, she was essentially claiming MPs were allegedly using deflection tactics about the use of the multi-million dollar constituency development funds (CDF) from Taiwan over which they had complete control.

What constitutes constituency development?   Given that 87 percent of the rural population in the Solomon Islands are going without access to proper health care due to the almost derelict state of the rural health care clinics, I would assume that the re-building or substantial repairs of those clinics would fall within the definition of “constituency development.”

If I am right, then prima facie it does not seem either foreign aid development or money from the CDF is doing anything to improve the situation and one learns almost daily of one or more rural health clinics in such a poor state that the local community are essentially deprived of their human rights to health care.

If Ms Liloqula’s commentary does anything to influence a change in the Solomon Islands and there is more targeted use of the CDF towards the rural population then the government and MPs must be fully cognisant health as a human right creates a legal obligation on the state to ensure access to timely, acceptable health care.

In addition, a state’s obligation to support the right to health includes the allocation of maximum available resources, and that must surely mean functioning rural health clinics and facilities.

Yours sincerely

FRANK SHORT

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