As a concerned Solomon Islander, I would like to raise my concern to the government regarding our poor medical facilities in rural clinics in light of this pandemic health issue, COVID-19.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare in his nationwide address on 27th March 2020, following the declaration of the State Of Emergency by the Governor General making an order urging all the non-working people living in Honiara to repatriate to their respective villages. In responding to this order, the mass population of Honiara are now repatriating to their villages.

Nevertheless, the issue that our government should consider is whether our rural clinics with poor facilities would be able to accommodate such large number of rural populace once the COVID-19 hit our shores? Most if not all, of our rural clinics do not have proper buildings, medical equipment and medicines. Additionally, some clinics are without nurses for years. How would these poor medical facilities be improved to the required standard to help protect our people from this pandemic? What is the government’s position on this very important issue?

Alternatively, building or renovating all clinics throughout the country could be a way forward. Installing necessary medical facilities, including transportation both in land and sea, supplying protective equipment and medicines to our clinics is equally important. Significantly, the availability of our nurses in all the clinics is a vital consideration to prepare for this pandemic.

Therefore, I urge our national government through the Ministry of Health and Medical Services to seriously consider the above alternatives for the good of our citizens. I appeal to the government to prioritize the health of our people and increase the budget for this particular Ministry to help improve the medical facilities in our rural clinics as early as possible. The sooner the better, “Let us together battle COVID-19”.

Ezra Maelulu
USP, Emalus Campus
Port Vila, Vanuatu