This week was the annual four day National Health Conference and Graham was able to attend, along with a good number of senior nurses, accountants and doctors from around the country. There were also representatives from the various donor agencies – AusAID, The World Bank, the World Health Organisation, U.N.I.C.E.F. and several others.
On Tuesday we had a series of presentations from the different provinces. Currently 3 of the 10 provinces are without a doctor, including Choiseul, with about 25,000 people living in remote villages around the coast. The doctor in Isabel works alone without either x-ray or laboratory facilities. The remote province of Temotu had a doctor posted there last year, but he committed suicide in December, partly as a result of his 24/7 responsibilities and the lack of support and facilities. The doctor posted to Rennell-Belona Province is unable to actually live there due to a lack of housing. All this sounds rather depressing and makes us realise that we are quite fortunate in the West Province.
Jenny hopes to do a medical tour in Choiseul Province next month, starting at Taro in the north-west and working her way down to Wagina in the south-east before returning to Munda. Next week will be the official opening of the new Eye Unit at Helena Goldie Hospital, timed to coincide with the 3 day eye surgical tour.