4 Oct 2002

Solomon Islands hospital services hit by shortages of staff and medicines

11:02 am on 4 October 2002

A leading doctor in Solomon Islands says he believes the severe shortages the health system is experiencing are leading to preventable deaths.

Dr John Kure, the acting head of the Medical Association, says the health system is facing a catastrophe and needs immediate aid assistance.

He says the inability of the Government to pay staff wages on time is compounded by a lack of money for drugs and equipment and a major shortage of doctors.

Dr Kure says many of the senior staff have gone overseas.

He says he is particularly concerned about the lack of staff in the children's ward at the National Referral Hospital in Honiara where there is now no paediatrician, no consultants and no registrars.

"We have only two intern medical officers manning the whole paediatrics ward, so you could see that it is already a problem. Now when you run out of basic things like paediatric canulas, intravenous giving sets and things like that, nobody can tell whether some of the deaths here that are going on are preventable or not, but I believe there are some deaths which could have been prevented."