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Feature: Chinese doctors help enhance wellbeing for Solomon Islands people

Updated: July 6, 2023 Source: Xinhua News Agency
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HONIARA, July 5 (Xinhua) -- Early on Tuesday morning, patients were already waiting in a long queue outside the Physiotherapy Room of the National Referral Hospital in Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands. They all came to seek acupuncture treatment by the Chinese medical professionals.

Since the arrival of the Chinese medical staff, acupuncture therapy based on traditional Chinese medicine has gained popularity increasingly across the Pacific island country, with its effect winning widespread recognition from local residents.

"I have visited the acupuncture treatment for six days now. Today will be my seventh day and I think I am in a 10-day program. For the last six treatments, I feel very much different," Rex Foukona told Xinhua.

"Before I came here, my headache took me eight hours (a day) and I tried some medical treatments to relieve me. Their presence here is what we need, what we very much need in this country, " said Foukona.

"It is a new kind of treatment. It is really good," he noted.

Another patient, Martin Popot, who previously suffered from great pain in his legs, said that the Chinese acupuncture has helped him a lot.

"If I walked for a few minutes or too long, I started to feel there was heat under my legs and there were sort of things through my veins that were so painful that I couldn't walk, so I needed to rest for about five to 10 minutes before standing up and walking again," he recalled.

"I really appreciate the doctors. They are very professional in what they are doing. They are very punctual, they are very kind, and they are very good to Solomon Islanders," said Popot.

Listed by the United Nations as one of the world's least-developed countries, the Solomon Islands has less than ideal health infrastructure. In primary-level or regional clinics, there are only nurses and nursing assistants available to treat patients, while doctors can just be found at provincial hospitals.

After the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations in 2019, China started to dispatch medical team including doctors and nurses to the Solomon Islands in early 2022. Currently, the second batch of eight Chinese medical team members are working here.

George Wilson Malefoasi, CEO of the National Referral Hospital, told Xinhua that it is a milestone to have acupuncture as a formal treatment in the hospital.

"One of the benefits of having acupuncture is that it is cost-effective. There are limited resources. And it doesn't cost that much involved in providing medical care for the public," said Malefoasi. "I think that's really important in terms of providing access to poor people and people without resources."

Considering the health service situation in the Solomons Islands, the Chinese medical team is composed of medics specialized in treating varying illnesses.

In the country the departments of urology, cardiology, nephrology, and clinical laboratory are visited by more patients, while they fall short of advanced diagnosis and treatment methods.

Over the past three months in the Solomon Islands, the Chinese medical team has provided acupuncture services for over 1,800 patients, treated over 1,400 people with nephrological, urological, and radiological diseases, saved the life of more than 20 critically ill people, organized 16 training programs on pathology, and conducted 30 urological surgeries.

The Chinese medical team also arranged academic seminars, and invited local doctors and nurses to observe and participate in their diagnosis and treatment process, in an effort to help enhance the capacity building of the local hospital.

"They have provided an opportunity to develop further. They are instrumental in terms of service providing. They provide us with some of the expertise that we don't have in the country, and even in the region. We have a urologist. We have a neurologist, and also we have a cardiologist, so that (it) paves the way for further development that we anticipate," said Malefoasi.

On Tuesday, the National Referral Hospital launched a new acupuncture clinic to provide better service for the local people.

Chinese Ambassador to the Solomon Islands Li Ming said that the Chinese medics have helped the people of the Solomon Islands with their benevolent hearts and professional skills.

Li said that the Chinese embassy will continue to support the work of the Chinese medical team and work with the government and people of the Solomon Islands to benefit the local people. 

Editor: Gao Jingyan