By Gary Hatigeva
THE Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) will start posting newly graduated doctors from institutes around the region including those that have graduated from Cuba and Republic of China (ROC) Taiwan, to medical centres in the provinces starting next year.
The Minister for Health and Medical Services confirmed this following a supplementary question from the Member of Parliament for East Honiara and also Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Douglas Ete.
In Parliament, the East Honiara MP questioned the timeframe in which the government through the Ministry has in plan to start rolling out its programme, and that is posting out of doctors to the provinces.
But before asking the supplementary question, the PAC Chair acknowledged the former Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare, who was also Prime Minister in 2006 and had initiated the programme to send doctors to Cuba, many of which according to the Health Minister, are ready to be engaged in the posting plan.
In his remarks, Mr Ete explained that the former and his government then came up with the programme with sole intentions to bolster the rural area health clinics and to ensure their accessibility to health services.
Meanwhile, when responding to the East Honiara MP, Health Minister and MP for Rennell and Bellona, Dr Tautai Agikimua Kaitu’u revealed that the ministry will begin to post out doctors to the provinces starting next year.
He further revealed that currently, a total of 58 graduate doctors are doing their internship at the National Referral Hospital (NRH), and 18 of them will be registered later this year.
He added that out of the 18, 11 will be posted at the National Referral Hospital while the remaining nine according to the minister, will be posted out to the provinces to start off the posting programme for the newly certified doctors.
And the minister said the ministry is hoping that by next year, the rest of the internships should be ready to be part of the major posting programme, 27 of which are Cuban trained.
However, the posting programme will depend very much on the initiation and completion of clinics and other health centres including required infrastructures for most of the provinces, some of which have yet to start construction.
Though with little allocation in both its development and recurrent budgets, the government according to ministry officials, is determined to see that all these programs are implemented and executed for the well-being of the 80 percent population in rural areas.