NCDs impacting services and resources at NRH

National Referral Hospital. Photo supplied
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Diabetes and non-communicable diseases (NCD) are heavily impacting the limited resources and services at the national referral hospital (NRH).

This was uttered by Dr George Malefoasi Chief, NRH executive officer at the recent opening ceremony of the new Diabetic Centre, NRH.      

“These statistics showed burden of the diabetes and other NCDs is having an impact on the limited resources and services of the NRH and Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS),” Malefoasi said.

He reported from 2015 to 2020 the NRH admitted an average of 14,146 patients. Within the same period there was average of 11,500 discharges. In 2019-2020 there were 11,556 to 12,568 admissions (9-10 percent of the Honiara population).

“The medical ward (adult ward) is one busiest department in terms of length of admissions (1,090), as well as patient day care (13,468) in 2020. Besides maternity and special care nursery, medical ward has one of the highest bed occupation rate of 88 percent in 2020.

“Medical ward also have some of the longer stays in the hospital in 2019 it was 14 days average length of stay which slightly reduced in 2020 with 11.8 days,” Malefoasi said.

He said the NRH admission records showed an increase of NCD cases of 31 percent (187) from the 2018 total of 590, to 777 totals in 2020. The WHO STEPS survey in 2O15 flagged primarily changing lifestyles including eating habits, diet, physical activities as common causes of hypertension and diabetes.  There are also secondary contributing factors such as low socio-economic challenges that influences the prevalence of NCDs.

Malefoasi stressed the number of admissions of Diabetic cases made up the majority of NCDs by around 60percent and hypertension 40 percent of the total since 2018.

He said 283hypertension were admitted in 2020. Whilst the total of 494 were due to diabetes. Of this total the majority 97 percent were type-2 non-insulin diabetes cases (483) and insulin-dependent of (11).

“According to the deaths record at NRH from 2018 to 2020, the medical ward which makes up 34 percent of all cumulative deaths record of 1,688 in total over the three years period. And most of these deaths were due to end-stage and NCD complications.

The medical department is one priority area for consideration – upgrading and improvement at all level,” Malefoasi said.