Wednesday, 9 July 2008 12:26 PM

Doctor shortage

The issue about doctor shortage as expressed in Solomon Star is a problem world wide. Health workforce is very mobile in our day and age. Even our neighbour Australia has shortage of doctors. About 1/3 of the doctors that work in Australia come from overseas. This is because doctors in our day and age are marketable worldwide. Solomon Island is just the same.

Solomon Islands is now part of this world supply of health workforce. The reality of globalisation. But there are alot that we can do to improve on our current supply of doctors in the country. We need to re-design the jobs. Look at the functional relationship of with other professions, etc. Look at the job flexibillity of doctors. Look at rural posting incentives. And remember that we must accept reality of the global mobility of health workforce; doctors,nurses, medical scientists , etc.

However, if we are not careful, our current doctors will be over worked and experience burn-out. It is a common work ethic & culture for doctors to put patients' health first then their owm personal health. Our doctors can and have compromise their own health for the sake of others. Over worked doctors have less sleep and less rest. Studies have shown that doctors who work 18 hour non-stop when on-call have the same mental capacity as someone who has alcohol level of above 0.05%. Furthermore, over worked doctors eat at irregular times and are under stress. The end result is low body immunity. Doctors can then be prone to get cancer and other non-communicable diseases.

Finally, let us not forget the contributions of clean water, good sanitation and good nutrition on health. Advances in technologies are yet to affect lives as dramatic as these three (clean water, good sanitation & good nutrition). Yes, these are all to do with human behaviour. We may have all the doctors we need. But there are other issues in health that can have similar ( or better outcome) than improvement on doctor to patient ratio.

Em sampala idea oloketa wantok.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter/article are those of Sam Mola and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.

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