Preventative medicine is seen as fundamental in support of the MHMS operational planning 

Speaking at the launching Permanent Secretary Pauline McNeil said the 2020 AOP and Budget set out the focus of efforts and Ministry’s organisational commitments for the current fiscal year.

Consistent with our National Health Strategic Plan (NHSP) 2016-2020, RDP Policy as well as the priorities of the DCGA, the AOP 2020 is the result of input from the various departments, divisions, including NRH and the Provincial Health Service and Development Partners,” she said. Ms McNeil said this year, the ministry would want to build on the successes of 2019 in increasing its budgetary execution, utilisation and implementation rate by delivering on a 25% rate each quarter.

She said in 2019, utilisation rates have improved as compared to previous years.”

I saw it as significant that the Permanent Secretary ended her address by saying, “Let us all work together to build on the improvement that we achieved in 2019.  2020 will be an exciting year as we as it will be the final year of our current NHSP and we will all be heavily involved in developing a new strategic health plan covering the next five years from 2021 to 2025.”

We need the next NHSP to build on the success of the last NHSP whilst also covering emerging issues and refocused government priorities.”

Source:  Solomon Star News.

As a young policeman I was always taught, and subsequently practiced, looking after the contraventions of the law (the minor offences) helped in stopping the bigger offences occurring.

The same principle I believe is needed to be followed in terms of health services.

The large majority of the major health concerns in the Solomon Islands, such as heart conditions, stroke, liver diseases, throat diseases, diabetes and cancer are medical issues that take up so much of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services annual budget, not mentioning the degree of hospitalisation and care needed by our dedicated medical professions, including nurses and ancillary support services , but preventative medicine and practices could help minimise the greater number of health problems that now occur.

Non-communicable diseases, such as I have mentioned, needs to be addressed with improved public health awareness measures and the community must become much more aware of taking responsibility for their own health.

What do I mean by referring to preventative medicine?

Well, it’s essentially a medical speciality which focuses on the health of individuals and communities.

The goal of preventive medicine is to promote health and well-being and prevent disease, disability and death.

Preventive medicine specialists are medical doctors or doctors of who possess expertise in a broad range of health care skills, including biostatistics, epidemiology, planning and evaluation of health services, management of health care organizations, research, and the practice of prevention in clinical settings. They apply their knowledge and skills in medicine, social, economic, and behavioral sciences to improve the health and quality of life of individuals, families, communities and populations through disease prevention and health promotion.

In general, preventive care refers to measures taken to prevent diseases instead of curing or treating the symptoms.

Primary prevention aims to avoid the development of a disease or disability in healthy individuals. Most population-based health promotion activities, such as encouraging less consumption of sugars to reduce caries risk, are primary preventive measures. Other examples of primary prevention in medicine and dentistry include the use of fluoridated toothpaste, and vaccinations for infectious diseases like measles, mumps, rubella, and polio.

The focus of secondary prevention is early disease detection, making it possible to prevent the worsening of the disease and the emergence of symptoms, or to minimize complications and limit disabilities before the disease becomes severe.

 Secondary prevention also includes the detection of disease in asymptomatic patients with screening or diagnostic testing and preventing the spread of communicable diseases. Examples in dentistry and medicine include screening for caries, periodontal screening and recording for periodontal disease, and screening for breast and cervical cancer.

At the risk of my repeating previous letters written about dietary changes and lifestyle changes to prevent the onset of  NCD’s, I do urge everyone to make changes to their lives and habits to reduce the risk of illness that is preventable.

 Also for women and girls do take advantage of the screening programmes available for breast and cervical cancer.  I am aware of the cultural aspects that often influence avoiding such screening, but to remain healthy one just not miss the opportunity of being examined.

The same early screening for men is important and all men of over 40 should consider having what is known as a PSA test and a rectal examination on an annual basis at least to detect and prevent prostate cancer developing.  Early detection can save lives in regard to breast, cervical cancer and prostate cancer.

Let me almost conclude this piece by reporting that the medical charity organization known by the name of ‘Sea Mercy’ will begin trial operations in the Solomon Islands more remote regions of the Western Province and Isabel this May.

Sea Mercy will be providing free medical and dental care to 300 plus isolated island to the benefit of more than 80,000 people.

It is possible that Sea Mercy will also attend to eye problems and give out eye glasses to the needy.

Finally, the medical services in the Solomon Islands are under increasing pressure to take care of our health but really the onus is on all of us to prevent illness by simply following changes to our diet by cutting out sugary drinks, reducing fat intake, drinking in moderation, stopping smoking and chewing beetle nuts, eating more fresh vegetables and fruit and getting more exercise.


Frank Short


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