SFA pays shipping costs for 100 urgently needed hospital beds

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By Alfred Sasako

THE Solomon Forest Association (SFA) has again turned “Good Samaritan“ to the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, paying the shipping costs of 100 urgently-needed hospital beds for the National Referral Hospital and two provincial hospitals.

The freight and associated costs come to more than USD11,000 (about SBD88,000), which SFA has remitted to Take My Hand in Auckland, New Zealand this week.

They would be assembled in a two 40ft containers from New Zealand to be shipped to Honiara in the next month or so.

“The beds are now being collected from hospitals in New Zealand, where they are surplus to requirements, and placed in storage at the ‘Take My Hands’ (TMH) Charity Trust depot in Auckland prior to shipment to Honiara.

“I express my sincere thanks and appreciation to the SFA for this donation and to TMH for its continuing humanitarian work on behalf of the SI MOHMS and local NGO’s,” former police commissioner Frank Short said.

“I … wish to express my sincere thanks to you and the Board of the SFA for kindly agreeing to aid the MOHMS by paying the freight charges associated with the sea freight from New Zealand of 2 x 40 containers with 100 hospital beds,” Mr Short said.

Janette Searle of Take My Hand also acknowledged SFA’s generosity. The two containers are different from a 20ft container Take My Hand had sent to the NGOs including Hearts of Hope in Auki, SIDT in Honiara and People with Disabilities, also in Honiara.

The container arrived earlier this month, but to date the Ministry of Health and Medical Services has not cleared it from the wharf.

Take My Hand has so far sent 982 pieces of medical equipment ranging from hospital beds, to gloves and masks (total weight at 31,950kg), according to statistics provided by the Auckland-based charitable organisation.

Ms Searle said the estimated value of this equipment is $350,819 NZD (actual cost of the projects combined is under $35,000NZD)

“We’ve also estimated based on evidence of extended length of life of equipment that the number of (Solomon Islands’) people helped will be nearly 100,000.

Of the projects we have done with MOMHS are:

  • 1 x 40ft container of hospital beds (SFA funding covered freight and transport costs);
  • 3 x 20ft containers with a range of medical equipment (covered in the MOU with MOHMS, NRH, SIIF and TMH); and
  • 1 x 20ft NGO container – with SFA covered freight and transport costs.

“My understanding is that they are also helping clear the container in Honiara. And now there will be 2 x 40ft containers of hospital beds,” Searle said.

The SFA initially paid for the first couple of containers which brought 148 hospital beds some two to three years back.

The SFA also paid the freight and transport costs for the NGO’s container at more than NZ12,000. It has supplies for local NGO’s, the Disability Association, Hearts of Hope, Women’s Refuge Centres, the Eye Hospital and the SIDT. It arrived in Honiara on April 2. The container had an additional 3,000 pairs of spectacles for the Eye Hospital Lions Clubs kindly donated.