20 February 2021

NRH patients with diabetic condition ‘ignored’ by government

Patients with diabetes and other lifestyle diseases say they are suffering in silence at the National Referral Hospital (NRH) because the government has turned its attention away to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a result, up to six people, including younger ones, die every day from lifestyle diseases, an inpatient told the Sunday Star last week.

“The government has neglected us since the beginning of last year. They have turned their full attention to fighting the COVID-19 with the nation’s financial and human resources, leaving us to suffer in silence. The inpatient care we once enjoyed is no longer here,” the patient said.

“You feel like you are no longer entitled to any care at all in this hospital. And there are people dying every day from diabetes and other lifestyle diseases such as high blood pressure and so on,” the patient said.

“What the government may have ignored is the fact that COVID-19 is not here. We have not lost a single Solomon Islands national through COVID-19 and yet it is the biggest expenditure item in terms of finance and manpower resources,” the patient added.

“In the case of diabetes and other lifestyle diseases such heart and high blood pressure, we are losing up to six people a day – that is how serious lifestyle diseases are here at the National Referral Hospital,” the patient said.

“In the case of diabetes, some of us have lost a limb (a leg) or two. We have agreed to be operated on because we believe we would be rehabilitated. That is not happening. 

“The biggest problem here is that the NRH does not seem to have a rehabilitation plan for us after such operation.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has drained all the resources from us and as a result, the government has simply ignored us and the condition we live in at the hospital.”

The Sunday Star was unable to get a comment from the National Referral Hospital Management or the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Friday.

The NRH management last week issued a statement saying it had endorsed its Business Plan for 2021 and onwards in its meeting on Friday two weeks ago. The statement said the plan “incorporated priority infrastructures, clinical services deepening strategic actions, inpatient care improvements to include patients’ food, beddings, water and sanitation, and infection control facilities.”

“In terms of other health programs, we are constantly monitoring the delivery of programs and take appropriate steps to address any deficiencies or decline in health services delivery,” the statement said.

Newsroom, Honiara