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By Moffat Mamu

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Jan. 11) – Serious health cases in Makira Ulawa Province are being transferred to the National Referral Hospital due to lack of doctors in the province.

The only doctor in the province Dr Patrick Paia is currently on holiday in Western Province.

A medical officer at Kirakira Hospital Rolland Alaha said there was no doctor to fill in for Dr Paia therefore the only option was to send serious medical cases to Honiara.

"This is causing a lot of inconvenience for sick patients who need immediate medical attention," Mr Alaha said.

Dr Paia has left for holidays before Christmas and is yet to resume duties.

Mr Alaha said those patients critically ill were sent to Honiara either by boat or plane.

"This is also costing the province a lot of money," Mr Alaha said.

He said the situation highlighted the need for more than one medical doctor in provincial hospitals.

"I believe other provinces are also experiencing the same problem and it is time the Ministry of Health address this shortage of medical doctors," he said.

The Ministry of Health has attributed the problem to shortage of medical doctors in the country.

This had forced the previous Sogavare government to look into recruiting medical doctors from Cuba to come and fill vacant positions.

However, that recruitment is yet to happen.

Meanwhile, Mr Alaha said while the government is doing its part, the new Makira provincial government too must address the doctor shortage situation in its programme of action.

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