The Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) along with the National Referral Hospital’s (NRH) Oncology Unit celebrated the handing over of a new Mammography Machine today at NRH.
The machine was handed over by the Solomon Islands Maritime Authority (SIMA) as part of its community engagement and contribution towards the prevention and early diagnosis of breast and cervical cancers in Solomon Islands under an MOU with MHMS which was signed in 2022.
Speaking during the event MHMS Permanent Secretary Mrs. Pauline McNeil thanked SIMA for their dedication in linking up with the ministry and in handing over of the new machine and hopes for more support in the future to help expand and equip the Oncology Unit.
“In terms of where we are going and in terms of how we are responding, our strategy is for early screening, early detection and treatment, and because of the situation that most cases that were presented here are already too late to be attended to, what we do is we go out and do more outreach services and procure more equipment and we have to place more strategic locations including in Gizo, Kiluúfi and our other provincial hospitals because we need to serve all the services to ensure they are not challenged by financial hardships, bad weather conditions or the lack of logistics that prevents them from visiting our health facilities”.
“It is so aligning within our strategic plan 2022-2031 that we have to increase coverage of health services at quality health services and this is where strategic objective three falls under but at the same time we also have to ensure that we improve our systems that are in placed, the referral pathways, the timely procurement of supplies, medicines and equipment, and we have to create an environment that users, our women can demand for the service”, said PS McNeil.
The PS also added that in going forward, MHMS will once again reach out to SIMA and its other strategic partners for support in establishing a quality infrastructure facility dedicated to the Oncology Unit and its patients.
“Women’s health are quite crucial to all of us and nearly more than half of the population are women and children so going forward we are negotiating and discussing with our key strategic partners for their dedicated help in setting up this health facility dedicated to the Oncology unit with the aim to ensure our women’s dignity are respected as they go through their procedures and also in terms of cervical cancer we are also reaching out to our partners to ensure the vaccines on HPV are also in place”, she said.
Under the MOU, both parties have agreed for SIMA to mobilize resources from its own resources to assist NRH’s Oncology Unit and for MHMS/NRH to facilitate fund raising, provide technical support and ensure SIMA’s assistance is dedicated to the Oncology Unit.
Speaking on behalf of SIMA , Director Thierry Nervale said they are proud to hand over the new machine and will continue to focus and put more efforts and resources to the NRH’s Oncology Unit in their fight against cancer.
“We decided to focus on the prevention and early diagnosis of breast and cervical cancer because it is something that we all are affected by in our communities, families and we all know that the early diagnosis of cancer will help with the healing so it is something that we really wanted to focus on at SIMA so we decided to help and put in some resources in this area”.
“We decided on two things, first is to have a MOU to ensure we have a common understanding on how we can support and work together and then focus on what is needed right now, and so when we drafted the MOU between SIMA and MHMS which was signed on October , we then discussed what are the needs with one of the priorities being the Mammography Machine”, he said.
Meanwhile both beast and cervical cancers have the highest number of patients over the past years according to data shown by NRH.
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