Dear Editor – I would like to take the opportunity through your newspaper of expressing my personal gratitude and thanks to four Japanese volunteers who will be leaving for home very soon after undertaking two years of voluntary work in the Solomon Islands.
Mr Yusuke Nishiyama, a science teacher, worked at the ArnonAtomea school in Malu’u, North Malaita, Ms Misato Amano worked with the Malaria Division of the Honiara City Council, Ms Yuriko Mizobuchi demonstrated cooking to women at the NRH and at the Red Cross Development Centre and Ms Tomomi Kimura worked as speech therapist at the National Referral Hospital.
The work provided by these volunteers has been invaluable and cannot go without thanks.
The volunteers programme comes under the partnership between the SIG and JICA especially on improving the socio economic development conditions in the Solomon Islands
Ms Kimura said in an important interview last week that there is no local speech therapist at the NRH where she had been working.
She commented that this was a serious concern because in the country there is a need for a speech therapist as there are lots of patients, especially children requiring help.
She said (quote).
“Through my assignment in Solomon Islands, I learned a lot of skills to face up to the challenges.
“Speech therapy is not generally known, because there is no local speech therapist in the Solomon Islands.
“However, there are patients who have speech impairments or swallowing difficulties that are in dire need of care.
“Patients who have speech impairments or swallowing difficulty are facing many challenges in society.
“Those people need specialist assistances and understanding from family members and other supporters.”
She said the only help for those with speech impairments and swallowing difficulty in the country is for the country to have its own speech therapists.
“The negative effects are there and if left people caught with such impairments will not to be treated well in society.
“So it leaves people with speech impairments and swallowing difficulties, for instance, to be often kept at home by family members which is not right,” Mr Kimura said.
She said according to what she experienced at the NRH, the number of patients with speech impairment and difficulty in swallowing is huge.
I very much hope arising from the valuable work and insights provided by Ms Kimura, the Solomon Islands Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) will do everything possible to engage a full time speech therapist at the NRH as soon as possible.
In the interim, I would venture to request the Japanese Government to kindly assist the NRH with another speech therapist volunteer to carry on the exceedingly good work undertaken by Ms Kimura.