Solomon Islands: A Member of Parliament, Mathew Wale, MP, has claimed health shortages are costing local lives

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DEAR EDITOR, Friday, 30 November 2018, Radio New Zealand broadcast a news bulletin via its Pacific Service citing a Solomon Islands MP, Mathew Wale, as saying the Solomon Islands government’s failure to address drugs and equipment shortages in hospitals around the country was costing lives.

The news broadcast went on to say that “part of the reason for recent drug shortages was a change in the procurement procedure at the Ministry of Health.”

‘Take My Hands’ (TMH) my partner charity based in New Zealand and the very recent winner of the NZI Sustainable Business Award 2018, entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreement with the Solomons Ministry of Health and Medical Services and the National Referral Hospital (NRH) over three years ago to supply the NRH with regular shipments of containers with essential medical supplies and equipment such as hospital beds, mattresses, side tables, mobility aids, including wheel chairs and other basic needs, as assessed as being needed by the procurement personnel of the NRH.

The second phase payment needed to secure the continuation of such supplies has not been met by the MHMS/NRH and consequently the shipment of containers was suspended a year ago.

To meet an urgent need for hospital beds at the NRH and two provincial hospitals a donation of some $US,11,000 was given to TMH by the Solomons Forest Association (SFA) and this led to a container of 50 hospital beds and some wheel chairs being shipped and received in Honiara on 17 November.

A second 40 foot container with another 50 hospital beds and more wheel chairs is expected to leave Auckland soon for Honiara.

It might be recalled that earlier this year Radio New Zealand, in another broadcast, illustrated the shocking plight of many patients at the NRH sleeping on the floors in the corridors of the hospital because of a shortage of beds for them. Those images went around the world.

TMH has now kindly resorted to seeking donations from the public in New Zealand to help continue the service it has generously devoted to helping the Solomons MHMS in the absence of the MOU being paid- up in full.

The cost of the outstanding payment, $NZ 25,000, is considered a small amount compared with the benefits the continuation of the MOU could bring.

TMH recently highlighted the fact that well over NZ$370, 000 worth of equipment had been received by the MHMS/NRH since the inception of the joint agreement and more than 100,000 local people been the beneficiaries of the aid.

Yours sincerely,

Frank Short

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