DEAR EDITOR, the National Referral Hospital (NRH) is in desperate need of a CT scanner.
What is a CT scanner and why the need?
A CT scanner gives images of soft tissues and can provide doctors with far more information that can be determined by undergoing an ultrasound or an ordinary x-ray.
It helps doctors make better diagnosis and also decisions on the management of patients.
In the case of, say a patient comes to the NRH with a head injury, undergoing a CT scan, as opposed to just an x-ray, can guide the doctor in deciding what best intervention is needed.
Enquiries I have instigated have shown CT scanners are very expensive to buy and at the NRH an additional facility would need to be built to accommodate it.
One potential supplier of ‘pre-owned’ CT scanners in Taipei, Taiwan, has told me this week that to supply the NRH with a pre-owned Phillips Brillance 16 slices CT scanners, together with the supply of tools and manpower needed to help with installation, would cost the Solomon Islands Government about USD 160,000. (SBD$1,241,160.)
Without a CT scanner the NRH is inadequately equipped to be able to effectively deal and treat those patiently admitted to hospital with moderate to severe injuries, especially head injuries, no matter how diligently the NRH’s doctors work.
The NRH, being the main referral centre in the Solomon Islands, has the ultimate responsibility for the medical care of a population now around 650,000, if recent estimates of population figures are correct, but is devoid of the one essential tool, a CT scanner, already in use in Nauru with a tiny population and in Kiribati, Tonga and Samoa, Papua New Guinea and likely, also, in Fiji.
I would earnestly appeal, once more, to Solomon Islands regional donor partners, particularly, the Government of the Republic of China (on Taiwan), the Government of Japan, Australia and New Zealand to help the Solomon Islands Government and the NRH to quickly acquire a CT scanner, help built the facility to house it, and so ensure proper medical diagnosis is given to hospital patients who are risk without the intervention and use of such a diagnostic tool and in the circumstances I have outlined.