THE overcrowding at the National Referral Hospital (NRH) in Honiara is reportedly worsening.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) Dr Tenneth Dalipanda revealed this yesterday during a ceremony to officially open the newly refurbished Labour ward.
NRH Acting Chief Executive Officer Dr Rooney Jagilly adds that this is due to the exponential increase in the country’s population and diseases.
Dr Jagilly pointed out that the issue stems from the fact that the hospital facilities remain the same while the number of patients and staff continue to increase.
He furthers that the National Referral Hospital also faces a lot of infrastructure challenges due to lack of technical facilities.
“The problem we are facing now is lack of space to accommodate sick patients that coming into the hospital to be treated daily. The facilities we have remained the same but the patients and staffs are increasing,” he said.
Dr Dalipanda said for now, NRH cannot relocate.
“For now we cannot relocate, we want to relocate but there are still challenges we face,” he said.
NRH in a statement yesterday said, according to data collected: in 2004, the total deliveries were 2,402; two years later in 2006, it was 4,327; in 2008, it was 4472; and in 2010, it was 5,127.
“Now, we are hitting beyond 6,000 per year. The numbers speak for themselves and all these under the backdrop of the same old facility,” the statement said, referring to the old Labour ward.
Meanwhile, a nurse of 32 years’ experience working in the Hospital’s Labour ward, Catherine Honimae said, currently, the average birth per day at the hospital is up to 20 or more.
MHMS PS Dr Dalipanda said, MHMS currently has more than 700 staff, one third of which are workers at the NRH.
“We must take all the responsibility and look after our facility,” he said.