Yesterday’s groundbreaking ceremony of the SBD 90 million dollar Comprehensive Medical Center at the National Referral funded by the Peoples Republic of China not only signals the start of the much anticipated 16 month construction work, but more importantly strengthens local efforts to fight Non Communicable Diseases, NCDs.
In addition to lifting the level of care in our clinical services, the comprehensive health centre will also help the ministry mount programs to address the five key drivers of non-communicable disease – smoking, alcohol, sugar, salt, and lack of physical activity. These drivers lead to diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, stroke, kidney disease and liver disease.
Prime Minister iManasseh Sogavare in his keynote address said NCDs is the single largest killer in Solomon Islands.
‘NCDs account for 7 out of every 10 deaths. About 60 % of all admissions to the Medical wards suffer from diabetes, and 40% from hypertension. Heart diseases in men has increased from about 60% of admissions in 2018 to 65% to 2020 and in women it was 35-45 %. During this period 583 patients were admitted with heart diseases each year.With the increasing incidence of NCDs and in particular heart diseases and renal diseases, the construction of the new comprehensive medical centre is timely.
“The new facility will cater for specialised services for those that have NCD complications. My government has and will continue to step up our efforts to combat this silent killer head-on. This way we can achieve our vision towards universal health coverage for the people of Solomon Islands. We must tackle NCDs head-on. We must fight this battle together.
Building this new hospital wing for NCD treatment and management is just one part of a more comprehensive approach to manage the NCD Crisis,”said Prime Minister Sogavare.
Prime Minister Sogavare also confirmed that the Ministry of Health are also strengthening national capacity.
“The Ministry of Health will continue to assist and support the developments of the systems to ensure delivery of quality and high-standard services for the people at the hospital. In preparation, the Ministry of Health and NRH are already undertaking training of their staff to ensure they can work at the new hospital at its completion. They have prepared a 10-year
training plan for doctors, nurses and other allied health staff. 10 of these staff, including doctors and nurses are already selected to undergo 3-months training at Guizhou Medical University Hospital commencing in 2024, said Prime Minister Sogavare.
Meanwhile the Prime Minister also highlighted the health corporation between China and Solomon Islands
“The Health Cooperation between Solomon Islands and China was formalised in 2021 following initial discussions in 2019. This cooperation opened the way for the supply of more than 50,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic.In addition, PRC provided more than SBD$2 million dollars towards roll out of the COVID vaccine, and the establishment of an isolation facility at the National Referral Hospital for patients that were severely affected by COVID-19.
“The health cooperation also enabled the deployment of the first Chinese Medical Team (CMT) consisting of 5 personnel, 3 doctors, 1 interpreter and 1 chef to travel to Honiara. The team worked with the local staff at the National Referral Hospital to provide medical services since 2022. The second CMT arrived in March 2023. The two medical teams are from Guizhou Province, the sister Province of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services.
The Chinese Medical Teams are extremely committed and highly professional with excellent work ethics. They have delivered exceptionally high standards of clinical services to our people in several disciplines and also built the capacity of our local doctors and specialists.
Allow me to convey my most sincere gratitude to the Chinese Medical teams and to Guizhou province and the Chinese government for enabling the deployment of the two medical teams to Solomon Islands,” said Prime Minister Sogavare.