WHILST the Government and the Ministry of Health and Medical Services continue to pool all resources and prioritise the COVID-19 pandemic, we must not take our eyes off other health issues affecting the country.
This concern was echoed by the Australian High Commissioner to Solomon Island Dr. Lachlan Strahan last week.
The Solomon Star understands that the national government and the ministry of health with other stakeholders are pouring every resource under the State of Emergency to fighting COVID-19.
“We should not take our eyes off the ball as other health issues similarly deserve attention because the lives of patients are equally at stake,” Dr. Strahan said.
He added that health issues like maternal health, malaria and non- communicable disease (NCD) must not be overlooked while the attention is on COVID-19.
NCDs are also the leading cause of mortality in the Solomon Islands, with 60 % of all deaths caused by cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic respiratory disease, diabetes, and other NCDs.
Last year Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare said that NCD is the most urgent development challenge facing the Solomon Islands.
Sogavare added that by 2050 Solomon Islands could have 216,000 people with diabetes costing the country $US60 million dollars annually.
Dr. Strahan, however, assured the Minister for Health and Medical Services that Australia and other development partners will continue to work with him on making sure that other urgent health issues are given due attention.
It was understood that Dr. Strahan with other officials was visiting the western border of Solomon Islands.
And in his remarks during the handing over last week, Dr. Strahan said that they could see that health challenges in the provinces are often pretty urgent and can be quiet serious.
“So I think it’s really important that health assistance we (Australia) deliver continue to work for the Solomon Islands to provide health services in the provinces,” Dr. Strahan told the health minister last week.
He further pointed out that a big part of Australia’s health program in fact goes to supporting provincial health services in the Solomon Islands.
“We are in this together not just on coronavirus but building strong health for our population,” he added.
By ANDREW FANASIA