Dear Editor - I often wonder what my many letters to the local media do in bringing to notice social issues affecting people, particularly those in need, the sick, the displaced, the orphans, widows and the requirements of the MOHMS, especially the NRH.
It is easy to become discouraged when I highlight incidences of great need and month or years later see me writing about the same problems because the situations remain unchanged.
I took some comfort this morning, however, when I received the newsletter of the NZ based ‘Take My Hands’ Charity Trust.
Janette Searle writes in the newsletter how combined efforts have contributed to helping the NRH since I first made contact with TMH and participated in a MOU between the MOHMS (NRH) and TMH.
I take comfort, also, how Janette has noticed from my letters to the local media, some of which I copy to her when relevant, the plight of rural health services and health clinics and how such information could have contributed to NZ donors helping TMH with donated equipment and supplies.
This is Janette’s story quoted from the TMH newsletter I have mentioned.
“Take My Hands
“A couple of days ago, two shipping containers full of much-needed hospital beds and medical supplies were unloaded at Honiara wharf in the Solomon Islands and delivered to the National Referral Hospital, care of our partner charity Take My Hands. Those are the second and third containers to land there, and they’re already being put to good use. Their resourceful leader Janette Searle shares the story below.
“What do you get when you take a failed artist turned enthusiastic project manager in Auckland, an ex-police commissioner sitting in Thailand, some inspired health professionals with equipment to spare across NZ, three government leaders in Honiara, and a group of smart business-people with spare capacity in their transport system? You get a pretty stunning picture of collaboration that will see over 50,000kg of medical equipment and supplies get to those in need in the Solomon Islands this year (2016/17)
“Those supplies likely would have ended up in landfill, or sat in supply-chain-limbo like so much in the industry does for years and years until it goes to waste. But instead, they’re going to be put to good use in local hospitals where resources are in short supply.
“So, why the Solomon Islands?
“When I sit in the comfort of my lounge room drinking tea thinking of the pacific islands, I picture sunshine, beaches, tan lines and great surf breaks. And I’m not wrong – they are all of that in vast abundance. However, heading out into the communities, you experience beautiful smiling faces that exist despite a dire need for some of the basic necessities of life.
“In the Isabel Province in the Solomon Islands, 7000 people have no access to health services and some have to use a canoe to travel by sea for 200 miles to reach a medical clinic. Doctors in one rural health clinic have no electricity and have to resort to using kerosene lamps while performing emergency surgery, another has had no toilet facilities since 2013, and for others the lack of equipment means that people are going without, becoming sicker or in some cases dying. And that’s just one brush stroke of an incredibly large and common picture seen in the Pacific.
“So we’re incredibly proud to have sent around 20,000kg so far, made up of hospital beds, eye-glasses, moon boots and crutches, wheelchairs, examination tables, surgical gowns, gloves and masks. Just this week, two more containers arrived at the National Referral Hospital. From there it will be distributed both through the wards and out to some of the health clinics. And this is just the start! There’s 30,000kg to come.”
Since Janette wrote that article a new 20 foot container full of medical supplies and equipment arrived in Honiara last week for the NRH.
Particular thanks are also due to Lions Clubs (NZ) for the 3000 pairs of eye glasses donated, at my request, to the Honiara National Referral Eye Centre.