Dear Editor – Early on in my police career, spent in several African countries, Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), Swaziland, briefly Lesotho and latterly in Sierra Leone, it was often a sad occurrence to witness maternal mortality due to a shortage of doctors in rural areas and a lack of health facilities.
In addition to limited access to quality health care, the long distances, lack of transport, poor communications and geographical barriers, including wide rivers and mountains, contributed to fatal delays in reaching life saving hospitals and the few rural clinics that existed in those early days, now some 50 years ago.
With those memories still fresh, I was very pleased to learn of the launch of a new Emergency Obstetric Care (EmOC) facility and package at the Honiara National Referral Hospital (NRH) a week ago.
It was explained that an Emergency Obstetric Care package identifies and addresses health system issues that contribute to maternal deaths.
At the time the new EmOC facility was opened, Dr Sevil Huseynova, of the World Health Organisation (WHO) said his organisation had supported the Ministry of Health and Medical Service (MHMS) and was further committed to roll out Emergency Obstetric Care to the Provinces in Malaita and Choiseul.
Strengthened antenatal care can help to prevent mothers being at risk during pregnancy and much credit is due to the WHO and the Solomon Islands MHMS in a joint effort to save mothers’ lives.
We should all say thank you and hope to see the promised expansion of EmOC facilities as soon as possible.