At yesterday’s hand-over ceremony of an ambulance to Guadalcanal Province from a private company, Premier Francis Sade made no secret about the challenges his province faces in the current COVID-19 outbreak.
It ranges from needing more ambulances to dividing parts of his province to come under the capital city in the current State of Public Emergency. Additionally, his officials also expressed the concern that the province still does not have its own hospital. These were amongst gaps he outlined and required to be attended to as the pandemic infiltrates into his province and other parts of the country.
It ranges from needing more ambulances to dividing parts of his province to come under the capital city in the current State of Public Emergency and the province still does not have its own hospital. These were amongst gaps he outlined and required to be attended to as the pandemic infiltrates into his province and other parts of the country.
Sade recalled that in 2020 he had expressed the fear that by including some parts of Guadalcanal into Honiara’s Emergency Zone if there were going to be an outbreak, the focus would be on Honiara and Guadalcanal would be forgotten.
“My fear was we would be absorbed by the focus on Honiara and no one would prepare us for what was going to happen (community transmission of COVID). And it is now proven today,” the premier, said.
Segments of Guadalcanal are part of Honiara’s Emergency Zone are from Kakabona to Poha in the west and Lunga to Alligator in the east.
Sade said the first impact since the declaration of the community transmission on 19th January by the Prime Minister was it has stretched their resources at all levels in their emergency responses to caring for their loved ones, who are sick and needed medical emergencies.
Then on February 4th, it was revealed to GP that it would not be accessing ambulance services from St John to take their sick people because St John was overwhelmed with its Honiara responses.
The decision has impacted severely on Guadalcanal.
Director of Nursing at of GP, Moses Karuni said they had lost people because they could not be transported on time by ambulance to either the NRH or Good Samaritan Hospital.
“I can’t give you an exact figure but I can assure you that our people die due to slow response to take them to the hospital,” he said.
Usually sick people are transported via boats onto a road connection and are picked up by an ambulance to a nearby hospital.
Data showed that there were 15 COVID-19 related deaths on Guadalcanal as of yesterday.
Karuni said the handover of the ambulance would help them save lives as the province desperately needs its services.
According to Premier Sade his province needs four ambulances to be stationed in strategic locations around the island.
GP medical advisor and experienced doctor, Dr. John Hue admitted that health services remain a huge challenge in the province and it is further aggravated with COVID but they are trying their best to deal with it.
Meanwhile, Sade has publicly stated that he supported Premier Stanely Manetiva’s (Central Islands Province) call for SIG and all premiers to have an urgent roundtable discussion on the $40 million. The fund is given by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to address the Covid-19 impacts in the provinces. Sade indicated yesterday that they have received a response from the government and they would be formally responding to them.
On vaccination, he said GP has a population of 160,000 with an estimated 94,000 of age 18 and above.
“With our current low vaccination coverage of 33% it means 67% are still unvaccinated,” he said.
The premier said they would continue to roll out their vaccination programme including Pfizer for teenagers (12-17) and antenatal mothers.