Dwindling external funding support hits social services

By Alfred Sasako

THE impact of dwindling external financial support is beginning to show as donors, suffering funding fatigue, wind back their generosity.

With 52 percent cut in external funding this year, service delivery in the social services sector, is being hard hit. Long queues are expected in hospitals throughout the country as the impact of cuts in donor funding sinks in.

Former police commissioner, Frank Short, told this newspaper in a letter that the national life-saving programme run by the Solomon Islands Red Cross (SIRC) Voluntary Non-Renumerated Blood Donation Programme is now set to be the first casualty of cuts in donor funding by the end of June this year.

The program is being conducted in partnership with the SI Ministry of Health and Medical Services.

“Under the 2017-2020 strategy, the goal is to provide safe and adequate blood supplies in Honiara, Auki and Gizo with the objective of reaching eighty per cent (80%) blood donations voluntarily all unremunerated,” Mr Short said.

Funding for the programme has, in recent years, come from the (Australian) Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade through the Australian Red Cross (ARC). However, this support will now cease as from June 30, the end of Australia’s 2017-2018 financial year.

Mr Short said the local Red Cross Society would be placed in a very difficult position to support its national life-saving programme from then on.

“The SIRC has seen the importance of their national program over many years but to have their program cease will mean risking the lives of mothers and children and all who are in critical need of blood.

“Given the financial situation of the National Society, the SIRC will not be able to afford to take on the responsibility for its hitherto national life-saving programme and, as a consequence, the Blood Bank at the National Referral Hospital will be in a very difficult and critical position over blood supplies given that the Solomon Islands Red Cross Society might have to close down this national life-saving programme due to funding difficulties.

“For the past decades, SIRCS staff and volunteers contributed enormously in pursuit of blood collections and donations.

“Today, the society has reached a milestone in the success of the programme with 100 per cent voluntary donation and unremunerated.

“It matters most to the SRCS to save lives. The service the society has done until now is living testimonies for many people in the Solomon Islands,” Short said.

“Because of the importance of the SIRC programme and the critical service it provides nationwide, the ultimate goal is to ensure it remains operational. Simply, however, the SIRC needs to cover the costs of its operation.”

He appealed for support in order to help save lives.

“Please will you consider donating to the SIRC to keep the programme alive and save lives?” Short said.

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