Help at last for NRH patients awaiting prosthetic limbs

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DEAR EDITOR, having written consistently for 2 years or so about the plight of some 400 ex-NRH patients awaiting prosthetic limbs and constantly told by the hospital administration that the problem in supplying prosthetics was because the NRH’s Rehabilitation Workshop was derelict and out of use and there were no tools to manufacture artificial limbs and, additionally there was no skilled technician available, other than one under training in India, I was delighted to read today in the Island Sun of a fresh start to aid the large number of awaiting amputees.

 I read there is an intention to re-build the Rehabilitation Workshop and that is proposed that it should be named after my friend of some twenty odd years, Dr, Hermann Oberli, a former senior surgeon at the NRH during my time in Honiara.

 I know when I copied my previous letters setting out my concerns for the growing numbers of amputees awaiting limbs, Hermann wrote back at the time and said he had something planned to help and I’m really pleased that he has just been back to Honiara and perhaps put into action what has been needed for some four or five years.

 The hospital administration only recently told me that a new Rehabilitation Workshop was under consideration by an Australian Charity organisation but the planned help was subject to the availability of finance.

 Take My Hands Charity Trust (TMH) my partner charity in New Zealand offered to help by supplying ready- made prosthetic limbs, mainly legs, but I was informed by the Senior Rehabilitation Officer at the NRH that it was not a practical idea to send ready- made aids because each prosthetic needed to be custom made for the patient and properly fitted.

 I now understand with the very kind assistance of a team of helpers from LDS in the United States and a donation of 100 kg of cement from Fletcher Kwaimani Construction Company nine prosthetic limbs have been custom made.

 I thank all concerned for this encouraging initiative and very much hope to learn of a new Rehabilitation Workshop being constructed and all awaiting amputees being given prosthetic limbs to aid their rehabilitation into society, into the work force and to give them the freedom of movement they have waited so long to enjoy.

 Regrettably there are several patients needing amputation in the Solomon Islands every year and the onset of diabetes being a primary cause of such operations.

 It would be my wish that much closer attention is given to eating a proper diet, cutting out sweet drinks, sugar, and imported food that contains too much fat and contributes to weight gain and hypertension and can lead to stroke, heart conditions and early diabetes.

 While the fitting of prosthetics is highly commended it would be much better for people to follow dietary controls and take regular exercise to mitigate and perhaps even overcome the necessity of having a limb amputated.

 Yours sincerely

 Frank Short

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