A reality that must be tackled to restore rural health clinics and services

Dear Editor,
YESTERDAY, I attended the Bangkok Institute of Dermatology, a public hospital facility in central Bangkok where, as usual when attending my appointments, the hospital was full of patients, many of them very elderly, but all getting care and medical attention relatively quickly despite the obvious pressure on the doctors, nurses and administrative personnel on duty.
On such occasions I think of the plight of the many sick people in the Solomon Islands without access to medical treatment and care in the rural areas of the provinces.
I wrote last year about the plight of the 7000 in the community at Tatamba in Isabel province without a functioning health clinic, another 5,000 without health facilities on Savo Island at Panueli and I could go on, but has anything changed?   I hear not.
From all accounts the 344 rural health clinics are still dilapidated or trying to operate on a shoe-string but a general situation wholly inadequate.
Australia I recall in the past couple of years provided AUD$2.7 to the Solomon Islands Government, through the Direct Aid Program to improve health care outcomes, with 40 per cent of that money earmarked for the provinces to support hospitals and rural care centres performing life saving primary health care.
While the Solomon Islands does not want have to be wholly reliant on aid from regional partners the reality is, from what is occurring still in the provinces, help from its long-standing traditional friends is still much required and perhaps the time has come for the Solomon Islands Government to grasp the nettle, no matter how demeaning it might be considered, and ask for more financial assistance to ensure the primary health care of its citizens and especially those in the rural areas are accommodated with new, or re-furbished, equipped and appropriately staffed health care facilities.
Yours sincerely
Frank Short

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