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A recent historical and successful visit by the Parliamentary Health and Medical Services Committee to the Western Province uncovered the seriousness of poor health services in the province’s hospitals, clinics and area health centers.

This was after its recent inquiries with the health practitioners and officials of Seghe mini-hospital, Noro clinic, Helena Goldie hospital and Gizo hospital from 6th to 15th September 2018.

The Committee’s gathering of information through the hearings and open forums for public was focused mainly on their terms of reference and that is to inquire into the status and the quality of medical services provided in hospitals and mini-hospitals in the Country.

Seghe, Munda and Gizo hearing was also in its third phase as far as the Committee is concern. This was after its first round of inquiry in 2016 where it gathered evidences from the general public and health officials from Kilu’ufi and Malu’u hospitals in Malaita Province and Lata hospital and Manuopo area health center in Temotu Province in 2017.

Chair of the Committee Hon. Charles Sighoto, clarified to the witnesses in the view of the recommendations of the special committee report into the status of NRH of 2009, his Committee found that provincial hospitals need to be better equipped and capacitated in order to lessen the cost and burden of treating patients and performing surgical procedures at the National Referral Hospital in Honiara.

“So my Committee is here to gather collective information from you and to hear your stories on the status and quality of medical services provided in this part of the country” He told the medical practitioners.

It is common to hear from the witnesses during each hearing and open forum that the challenges most encountered is lack of healthcare facilities, equipment/apparatus, infrastructure and manpower among other issues.

Western Province has two hospitals, one in Gizo and the church run Helena Goldie Hospital in Munda. Likewise, Seghe area health center is also categorized as a mini hospital. There are also few rural health clinics and nurse aid posts that provided health services in and around the province.

Furthermore, most nurses that served in Western Province like in Temotu are secondary health care nurses. This showed that there is a dire need to strengthen primary health care services of prevention.

It was obvious during the Committee’s site visits to Maravari Navere aid post and Leona rural health clinic in both South and North Vela that clinic facilities are run down and unfit to use. A site visit to Koriovuku Clinic and Penuna Clinic in Ranongga were pretty much the same.

The Health Committee also organized two public forum for the Munda and Gizo general public purposely for those who did not have the chance to share their thoughts and experiences regarding their accessibility to the basic health services provided in the province.

The Chairman of the Health and Medical Services Committee, Hon. Charles Sigoto, assured the general public and health officials during the inquiry that his Committee has taken onboard their concerns and will be compiled in the committee report to be presented to Parliament.

Details of the committee’s inquiry will not be pre-emptied or will not be disclosed for now, however, the details will be made known to the public after the Committee’s report has been compiled and tabled in parliament.

The Health and Medical Services Committee, like any other Parliamentary Standing Select Committees are mandated by Parliament to perform oversight over the executive government’s decisions and actions specifically into the status and quality of medical services provided in the hospitals and mini-hospitals, area health centers, clinics and first aid posts in the Country.

This is to ensure that the government’s health service delivery and sustainable development programs are maximized and prioritized to improve the health-economic status and well-being of its people and the country as a whole.

The Western Provincial executive and the rural people of western province have therefore expressed their gratitude and commended the Parliamentary Health and Medical Services Committee as this was the first time in their history to receive six Members of Parliament on their shores at one time.

Likewise, the Committee would also like to thank the Provincial executive, Police Officers, Medical Officers, and Chiefs, Church leaders, the skippers and the rural people of Western Province for the warm hospitality accorded to them.

Members of Parliament who are in the Health Committee to the Western inquiry are: Hon. Charles Sigoto (Chairman), Hon. Mathew Wale, Hon. Alfred Ghiro, Hon. Dickson Mua, Hon. Lionel Alex and Hon. Lanelle Tanangada.

A one day hearing into the Solomon Islands National Provident Fund (SINPF) (Amendment) Bill 2018 which provides for a new voluntary pension scheme to be operated by SINPF was successfully held last Friday, 28th September 2018 at the National Parliament House.

This was after BLC completed its two weeks hearing into the Traditional Governance and Custom Facilitation Bill 2018 from Tuesday 18th September to Wednesday 26th September 2018.

The SINPF (Amendment) Bill 2018 allows those in the informal employment to also save for retirement. This saving scheme is called the YouSAVE, a new voluntary pension scheme to be operated by NPF.

This new scheme improves the financial inclusion of pension savings in Solomon Islands and is supported by the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme.

Other amendments are also made to bolster the financial stability of the Special Death Benefit entitlement to NPF members.

Currently the special death benefit yearly premium has not been updated in over 40 years and is currently set too low for the Solomon Islands National Provident Fund to provide an appropriate Special Death Benefit to its members.

The amendments will update the special death benefit premium and other monetary amounts specified in the Act that have been eroded by inflation over the last 40 years which no longer appropriately reflect an appropriate monetary amount.

These amendments to the NPF Act will also change the timing for the declaration of the yearly interest to be credited to members’ accounts.

The amendments will change the timing from the end of the financial year which is in June, to three months after the end of the financial year which is the end of September.

This will allow the SINPF to make the decision of how much interest to credit to members’ accounts based on audited financial accounts, rather than on unaudited accounts that could change.

This change aims to improve the financial soundness of SINPF decision – making.

Those who appeared before the BLC on Friday include:

  • Ministry of Finance and Treasury
  • Solomon Islands National Provident Fund
  • Legal Draftsperson
  • Central Bank of Solomon Islands
  • Law Reform Unit
  • The Credit Union league
  • SI-National Council of Women
  • Women’s Group Representatives and
  • Solomon Islands Women In Business Association
  • Indigenous Business Representatives

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« February 2019

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