BY GEORGINA KEKEA
THE Prime Minister’s visit to the National Referral Hospital on Thursday to see firsthand the dire situation of medical shortage revealed more than just the dire medicine issue.
The Prime Minister and his delegates were confronted with the stark reality of the issues likeminded Solomon Islanders face every day.
In the medical laboratory, Dr Culwick Togamana, Environment Minister who was part of the entourage said he is appalled by the rundown condition of the laboratory.
He was quite emotional when he saw first -hand the working environment and state of the laboratory.
“I am really appalled at the stage of this lab. I have been teaching chemistry for 20 years but I cannot expect to work in a lab like this. I mean this is something critical for the lives of our people,” Togamana said.
The high level delegation were informed that the air condition units in most of the NRH office’s are not functioning properly with some important machines now defunct because the environment is not conducive for them.
“Some of these machines needs cooler temperature in order for them to function well,” a staff from the Laboratory said.
At the same time Togamana said staff from the medical laboratory should no longer work in their current office.
“The point is they shouldn’t remain here. They should be stationed somewhere else to sit down and work. They are spending 24 hours here, this is a health safety issue,” Togamana said.
Meanwhile when asked by Island Sun, Prime Minister Rick Hou says the state of the NRH issue is a long term issue which needs to be addressed.
“We’ve just been to the laboratory. It’s in a dire state. These people here are kind of operating in an environment which is not very healthy. It is something which government must prioritise,” PM Hou said.
What turned out to be an investigation on the medicine shortage has dug up more than what the PM has anticipated for and one which clearly shows lack of good management and leadership.
One can only sympathise with the Prime Minister when one fact finding mission only leads to one more drastic then the medicine issue.
PM Hou was accompanied by the Health and Environment Ministers and other staff from his office. On the other hand, he was quite pleased to see that the supply of medicines is slowly being corrected.