Week-long, 2022 National Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) training for NCD Provincial Coordinators came to a successful close last week Friday 23rd September.
The training is conducted every year providing space for provincial NCD coordinators to share updates on their NCD programs, experiences and achievements but also challenges and bottlenecks with human resources, and equipment, facility, system coordination, etc and together come up with solutions on how to best move forward with NCD programs.
During the week participants were also briefed/refreshed on the NCD SoLPEN, the Solomon Islands Package of Essential Non-Communicable Diseases, programme, especially with treatment and management components of the program which includes, diabetic foot care, ECG – medical procedure to assess rhythm of the heart to assist with diagnosis, and other basic important interpretations required when treating and managing patients with NCD>
Mrs. Nevalyn Laesango, Non-Communicable Disease, National Program Officer, MHMS, described the training as a success with participants being able to share and learn from each from their experiences and how challenges are overcome, etc. “This is very important if NCD programs across the country are to progress well with positive outcomes”.
Dr Jones Ghabu, National Referral Hospital, Head of Department, Internal Medicine and Lead Physician Clinical for NCD, highlighted that Solomon Islands is still battling current crises of NCDs with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and chronic lung diseases at our health facilities across the country with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and chronic lung diseases as leading cause of deaths for many of the sick patients.
He explained that one of the important ways forward discussed during the training was the need to address gaps in the system to support the work of NCD provincial coordinators to implement the NCD prevention and treatment program.
“The gathering identified gaps in the system that requires attention, one is to create line positions for NCDs at all levels. All current NCD coordinators need to be employed under a line in the government establishment for NCD”,
“There is also a need for NCD coordinators post across health care centres responsible for each health zones. Provincial health teams need to have their own NCD team to oversee implementation of NCD program in their respective provinces and hospitals need an NCD/lifestyle centre or clinic designed and equipped to address NCD and at the same time promote healthy lifestyle. These will be channelled up our Executive for consideration”.
In terms of challenges, we have also identified lack of ownership and social responsibility for our health and that of our families, communities and country as a whole.
“Despite having a well- equipped and well set up NCD clinic in our country with adequate and qualified workforce, if we the people do not take ownership of our own health, then effectively addressing NCD in Solomon Islands will only be a dream, too good to be true”, explained Dr Ghabu.