THE Covid – 19 Delta variant got out into the community more than five weeks ago or longer. Whilst there is no information on when it got out of quarantine [?] and into the community, it did hit our health and medical workers the worst and exposed in no uncertain terms just how poor the country’s health services, facilities system are. Transparency Solomon Islands hopes that the Executive Government and governments into the future are now left in no doubt as to the urgency of improving our health and medical services. Not only that but it has further compounded the already dwindling economy since the pandemic was announced globally to date. The number of small businesses that hugely contribute to the public purse have had to close. The restrictions were such that there is no other choice.
Responding to the community transmission of the virus, the Executive Government informed that more than $70 million alone was expended on the lock-down. It is therefore a pity that the government had all this funds but did almost nothing in the eyes of the public to improve the working environment for our nurses, doctors, cleaners, paramedics etc. reducing the risk of them being infected. Not only that but such fund could have provided the logistic support to the responsible ministry in the roll out of vaccination, prepared them to respond to the existing, ongoing health needs of the population whilst responding to the community transmission of Covid-19. It could have completed the quarantine facilities of the provinces for repatriation of their people, better deal with those stranded on boats etc. As it is, that $70 million and how it was spent and on what will remain a mystery until such time as the Auditor General is allowed to audit it. The status of our health services, systems, infrastructures, and facilities, prior to, during SOE and now the with the community transmission, has remained stagnant. Transparency Solomon Islands, therefore calls for an audit of the $70 million used during the recent lockdown, the Economic Stimulus Package, and the $6.8 million that was expended on the Constituency Development Fund going through members of parliament. What have these expenditures achieved; how have they been used etc.? The people of Solomon Islands need to know why their health system and services continue to remain stagnant and unimproved. Just like its [ Executive Government] fight against corruption, remain stagnant, so is its effort in improving the health services, systems, facilities and environment. PEOPLE MUST BE ALIVE TO ENJOY THE ECONOMY THAT THE SECRETARY TO PRIME MINISTER IS SO VOCAL ABOUT AND CUTTING CORNERS FOR. Despite these challenges these group of professional did not waver in their commitment to serving the health needs of the people of Solomon Islands working from environment that also puts them at risk.
Transparency Solomon Islands (TSI) commend the hard-working nurses and doctors throughout the country, particularly those working tirelessly in the last five weeks at the National Referral Hospital (NRH) to attend to covid-19 patients, and at the provincial hospitals and health centres. Despite the abnormal death toll stemming from the covid-19 for over a month, health staff were able to stand up to the fight against the virus to this day, with support from their Minister, Permanent Secretary, and senior management team of the ministry. Some were infected during the course of their duty but were able to rejoin the frontliners upon their recovery. TSI is also aware that there are frontliners that are infected but continued to attend to the need of their infected patients wearing their protective gear. These nurses and doctors know the risk this is to their lives and that of their families, but greater still is their commitment to service and their patients and the fight against the virus. Some were unable to see their families as they contracted the virus and have to be isolated or quarantined. There are also many stories of women, daughters, mothers, sisters, cousins etc. who are doing the same in their homes wearing mask and sanitizing and have helped their infected family members through the community transmission of Covid-19. Whilst a majority of these stories and cases are in Honiara, where there is some access, very little is known about or is captured about how the nurses, doctors and home carers are coping out there in the provinces. It is carried in the papers that Choiseul went into traditional herbal remedies as a response to the virus and it is said, the recovery of those who tested positive is very good. There is probably nothing in the traditional herbal medicines, but it needs some attention as it saved people where the government health system is not reaching them. These are the heroes that should be captured in our stories to encourage all that we are in this together and despite the failures of the Covid-19 Oversight Committee, preparing the country.
In light of these many stories and experiences of the people TSI again strongly condemn the claim by the Chairman of the Covid-19 Oversight Committee Dr. Rogers that government has turn around community transmission of delta within five weeks. What we see now is people rising up to the challenge as always and doing what they can to look after themselves and their loved ones. It has very little to do with the Oversight Committee but a lot to do with the nurses, doctors, health workers and their executive and the ordinary people of Solomon Islands. The Covid-19 Oversight Committee leadership has failed the country big time and should be held to account for the community transmission of the virus, the failure to audit ESP, and the $70million spend on the most recent lockdown for failing to account for these and many more failed schemes in relation to Covid-19 pandemic.
At this juncture, TSI commends the health staff throughout the country and home carers. You are the heroes and not Covid-19 Oversight Committee. Thank you for your continued effort looking after our people wherever you are, whenever you are called to duty. Transparency Solomon Islands urges the Executive Government to adequately support the Ministry of Health and Medical Services to continue to roll out vaccination and to prepare for any other waves of this corona virus.
THANK YOU NURSES, DOCTORS, PARAMEDICS AND AUXILIARY STAFF OF THE MINISTRY OF HEALTH AND MEDICAL SERVICES.