BY BARNABAS MANEBONA
MEMBER of Parliament (MP) for Aoke/Langa Langa wants the Trust Fund on healthcare to be taken out urging the Health Section to be funded only by the Solomon Islands Government.
He said if people want to donate then donate on Solomon Islands terms.
Speaking during the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) hearing into the 2018 Supplementary Appropriation Bill at Parliament last week with the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS), Hon Mathew Wale pointed out that the Australian High Commission needs to take back its money and put it to any other place as it is not contributing to anything good.
“Get rid of the Trust Fund, there is a mismatch on donor funds and resources coming being not strategically deployed,” said Hon Wale.
According to Hon Wale, the Health Sector is really mismanaged in which the issues of the National Referral Hospital (NRH) are obviously the epitome of it.
He said there is no nonsense letter of ‘no objection’ so MHMS should get rid of this nonsense.
“How come medicine has come to this stage, this is a chronic perennial problem. It is not as if we are adequately funding medicine as an example. The situation we have reached is just a worst of what has been a really bad situation,” said Hon Wale.
“Perpetual crisis management on the drugs procurement, suppliers not being honest, not supplying within time and the quality of supply from the generics is not good are just a litany of all the issues.
“And, I think leave the Australian High Commission to take back their money and put it to any other place. Let us fund the health budget so that we can be serious but it starts with you.
“We must fund it in which it is you guys who must make this case. If once you start but then you just end-up shooting each other then those at the top will think that you are not persuasive in any kind over which they will just cut you back.
“This is a matter for further dialogue. It might sound unfair for me to lay down this talk on your door but then the fire in me is really stirring.
“We need not be where we are with regards to the Health Sector but we are and we have been for too long. How long more before the people of Israel will come out of the Health Sector?
Hon Wale said the nation is not demanding St Vincent quality healthcare but just a reasonable one that has all the needed medications, drugs and dressings provided.
He said the Prime Minister lied last time when checking on the medicine shortage situation.
“The PM said everything was all good being under control but he was a conman. There is no such thing. A child died and probably that was not the only death probably totally unavoidable,” said Hon Wale.
“Is MHMS okay? Is the Minister of MHMS okay? If you guys say not enough resources then more resources but strategically allocated and deployed.
“It is just not coming out what the most strategic allocation of mega resources on this sector is. Who amongst us to make that case, I lay that question on you.
“I have had this high hope that we have all the medical Doctors who knows what is best for the Health Sector but the state of it is just not as it should be according to level of funding.
“Even if we said this year that this is the level you get which was the same as last year or so is not being strategically deployed on the resources.
“So we must do something but I do not know what that something is, it is you who know.
Of course the government’s funding and so will be there but whether the next Finance Minister will put serious money on it is another area of concern reminded Hon Wale.
According to the Permanent Secretary (PS) of MHMS in response to Hon Wale in terms of trying to avoid some of the problems happening to them, their thinking now is in line with the MP for Aoke/Langa Langa to take out the donor funded budget 376 and for SIG to take over.
“Because there is a risk there if some things go wrong, for instance, this no objection letter which requires for their advisor to sign off first. If in any situation goes wrong such as the Advisor happens to be overseas or contract is expired and so will cause delay.
“So there are potential risks. My thinking is SIG must take on board next year the budget for drugs and dressings.
“Having said that however, the DFAT funding for drugs and dressings is going down because the understanding they have with MHMS is eventually the Ministry will take over.
“For us to take over now is no harm in which we will be thinking of doing this now. The budget preparation the ministry is in full swing on currently is looking on areas such as how to address this sort of things.
“In terms of mismanagement, if you look at previous years the problem has already been there. It is only fair to say that we are improving. We are trying to address this sort of issue as it cannot solve itself. We are looking at various areas such as in financial management, procurement planning and budgeting. These are some of the areas to assist the service delivery Divisions.
“If we improve this then hopefully some of the problems we find now will be minimised.
“Basically that is what it is, if you look at the donor funded mostly are on drugs and dressings, programs and primary healthcare.
On donors funding generally speaking, MHMS PS clarified that they fund to where they want to fund. They do not just give direct funding and the ministry puts it where it wants to.
“DFAT is a bit flexible with this but otherwise, it emphasise on drugs and dressings consumables mostly to those in the provinces,” said MHMS PS.