DEAR EDITOR, having first linked-up with the New Zealand based Take My Hands (TMH) Charity Trust and the Solomon Islands Forest Association (SFA) in early 2015, I can reveal how TMH and the SFA have responded to appeals for help for the Solomon Islands Ministry of Health and Medical Services and local NGO’s with donated medical equipment and supplies, mobility aids, clothing, footwear, furniture and hospital beds which, in total to-date, has exceeded$350,819 NZD in value.
Given the value of those donated supplies, based on the extended length of life of the equipment, the number of people helped will be nearly 100,000.
In October 2015, the SFA paid SBD 25,000 for the freight and handling charges incurred in having a 20 foot container shipped by TMH with 48 hospital beds and mattresses for the National Referral Hospital (NRH)
On 2 April 2018, a further 20 foot container, also pre-paid by a donation of the SFA, arrived in Honiara containing 90 boxes of second-hand clothing and footwear for the children in the care of the Hearts of Hope Charity on Malaita, mobility aids, crutches, walking frames, walking sticks and some wheel chairs for the Association of Persons’ with Disabilities, office furniture for the Solomon Islands Development Trust (SIDT) and a micro-wave and kitchen utensils for one of the Women’s Refuge Centre.
The SFA has now agreed to pay over US11,400 to ship two 40 foot containers containing 100 hospital beds needed urgently by the NRH and two provincial hospitals, one in Isabel and the other in Malaita Province.
Some 18 months ago, a MOU was agreed and signed between the MOHMS and TMH (and myself as a facilitator/coordinator) to supply between 8 to10 20 foot containers of medical equipment to the NRH per year.
So far, in terms of that MOU, 3 x 20ft containers with a range of medical equipment have been received by the NRH.
The second phase payment of $25,000 NZD is awaited by TMH before further containers can be sent with more equipment and supplies.
I am extremely grateful to both Take My Hands and the Solomon Islands Forestry Association for pulling resources together in what has been a fine humanitarian and caring effort and one that continues.
I would also like to add a word of thanks to Lions Clubs in New Zealand that has donated 6000 pairs of re-cycled spectacles to the Honiara based Referral Eye Hospital since 2015, including 20 boxes of spectacles that were received in the container that was off-loaded in Honiara on 2 April 2018 and are awaiting transfer to the Eye Hospital.