Honiara has a new ambulance in service

Dear Editor,

MR. Douglas Kelson, the Chairman of the local branch of St John Ambulance service, has told me a new ambulance has been introduced in partnership with the Ministry of Health to undertake ambulance services in Honiara and Guadalcanal.

 The ambulance, a Mercedes make, is said to be fully operational with a full range of life support equipment, including a ventilator, oxygen and entox for pain relief.  The vehicle has been fitted to meet international standards.

 In recent days the ambulance has called at all the local clinics in Honiara a part of an initial awareness program.

 Those operating the ambulance have all been fully trained in their duties as paramedics.

 I expect there might be some in the community, especially those living in the more remote parts of Guadalcanal that are not familiar with the word ‘Ambulance’ and what such a vehicle is used for and its function.

 Well, the history of the ambulance goes back a very long time in history.  It began with simply carts, usually wooden ones, used to transport sick patients to hospital.  Over centuries and with advances in technology the wooden cart has been transformed into ambulances such as the one I have mentioned now in operational service with St John’s Ambulance.  Its purpose though remains the same, to convey those that are sick, especially the infirm, to hospital.

 The St John’s Ambulance Service provides what is known as paramedic services, the new terminology for first aid and the ambulance currently in service is used to transport patients, usually in an emergency to the nearest point of care, a clinic or a hospital depending much on the condition of the patient when put into the ambulance.

 Mr. Kelson, the former ambulance commissioner in Papua New Guinea for 8 years is currently working to avail the public of the ambulance service now in operation and detailing how a call for use of the ambulance should be made.

 Accompanying this brief introduction to the ambulance is a set of photographs taken recently when the ambulance team made visits to local medical clinics.

 It was just a short time ago I wrote to mention that the NRH’s own ambulance had been off the road for several months awaiting repair, but I am pleased that now, at least, there is one emergency ambulance available.

 Because of the large population residing in Honiara and in Guadalcanal several more ambulances are needed to meet the growing need of being able to speedily respond to emergencies and to convey injured patients and those seriously ill to hospital.

 I once again appeal to the traditional supporters of medical services in the Solomon Islands, the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan), the Government of Japan, the European Union and the Government of Australia to give consideration to donating more ambulances for use by the NRH and by St John’s Ambulance Service.

 Yours sincerely

 Frank Short

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