Dear Editor

A report with wider implications for rural health care in the Solomon Islands.

A news bulletin on Monday’s SIBC news claimed the Manuopo Health Clinic in the Reef Islands would be better closed as the conditions at the clinic are now so bad it is unfit to be used by sick patients and nursing staff.

The report was initiated by Richard Bapo, the Balipa Community High School Principal.

Mr. Bapo has urged the Temotu provincial health authority to urgently visit the clinic and to decide what should be done, but he also said the clinic’s isolation should not be an excuse to neglect the people of the Reef Islands.

Manuopo area health clinic is situated on Lomlom Islands in theReef Islands of Temotu Province and currently serving a population of more than 5,000 people.

Earlier this year, in April, James Ginting, the Country Director of World Vision in the Solomon Islands, said Nurse Aid posts and rural health clinics in Solomon Islands lack essential equipment and medicine to save lives of mothers and their children.

At that time, Mr. Ginting explained that about 80 percent of the population of Solomon Islands live in the rural areas and rely on rural health services.

He further claimed, mothers die during childbirth at alarmingly high rates and many children hardly see their fifth birthday and the issue is of great concern to Solomon Islands as pregnant mothers and children always need medical assistance from Aid posts and clinics.

In the interim, it is understood that World Vision Solomon Islands is working with communities to establish Village Health Volunteers to assist pregnant women in giving birth safely and educating them about maternal and child health issues.

World Vision Solomon Islands is to be highly praised for the work it is currently carrying out to aid rural women giving birth and advising on health care issues, but the state of the rural health clinics throughout the Solomon Islands needs urgent attention and, once more, I appeal to the Solomon Island’s donor partners to aid the Solomon Islands Government in coming to the rescue of the dilapidated and deteriorating rural health clinics in a bid to restore effective patient care and to help save lives.

What can be more precious than to help a mother giving birth and to save the life of her child?

Yours sincerely

Frank Short