The key to good foreign aid: Research highlights aid achievements in Solomon Islands

March 15, 2009

Health aid contributes 60% of funding to the Solomon Islands. The Islands have considerable health concerns including a double burden of both infectious and chronic diseases. This, coupled with damages from natural disasters, political instability and tensions between ethnic groups means most Islands in the Pacific, rely heavily on donations and externally funded programs. According to Australian research conducted in the Solomon Islands, simple cooperation between agencies and local governments is the key to good health care aid.

"As more and more agencies work to rebuild and strengthen health services and delivery, it's vital that these efforts are coordinated. In some cases there has been little alignment of priorities between the funding agencies and the local needs of the Solomon's Ministry of Health," says lead author Dr Alexandra Martiniuk at The George Institute for International Health in Australia.

"But what we are seeing now is a move towards more coordination and longer-term commitment to improve the health landscape in the Solomon's. We hope this trend gains pace among more foreign aid agencies."

WHO and AusAID are reported as examples of organisations providing good health aid. The Australian Government's AusAID program has been flexible with a focus on local priorities. The World Health Organization (WHO) is also seen as a good partner, who has made some sustainable changes including long-term training of local health care professionals. Both organisations have set out to base programs on the Solomon's government's National Health Strategic Plan, which was recognised as having real benefits for health system strengthening and planning.

"We know that coordination of aid in developing countries is important and commitment must be long-term. This research demonstrates Solomon Islanders' current needs for health care management skills, mentorship and the desire to learn more from other Pacific Island nations," added Dr Martiniuk.

A response from a local interview with the Ministry of Health included: Initially it was necessary to provide stop gap measure and fight fires, while now the focus is more towards recovery and development....

Researchers conducted in-depth interviews with government and nongovernment leaders from rural and urban regions in the Solomon Islands. The respondents suggest it is essential for donors to know current plans and determine with the Ministry of Health where they may be able to fit in. "If all donors and partners would support the five-year plan set by the Ministry of Health, resources could be used more efficiently to achieve greater impact."

Another local response: "Best way is to ask-what are you planning this year in the region and how can we help?. [referring to volunteers from overseas]...their flight costs alone are equal to the entire provincial health construction budget for an entire year."

"If aid is not coordinated, it can serve to undermine the government reform process and hamper efforts to build political stability by interfering with systematic policy making and planning. Locals expressed the desire to strengthen health committees, work towards long-term sustainability and integrating programs," added Dr Martiniuk.

The Solomon Islands are the fourth greatest recipient of Australia's aid (US$4.72m). The Australian government announced that it would take a lead role in supporting the Solomon Islands health sector by providing $60 million over five years in March 2008. These funds will include up-scaling its response to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections in the Pacific by increasing community prevention programs and expanding testing and treatment.

Research Australia

Related Health Articles from Brightsurf:

The mental health impact of pandemics for front line health care staff
New research shows the impact that pandemics have on the mental health of front-line health care staff.

Modifiable health risks linked to more than $730 billion in US health care costs
Modifiable health risks, such as obesity, high blood pressure, and smoking, were linked to over $730 billion in health care spending in the US in 2016, according to a study published in The Lancet Public Health.

New measure of social determinants of health may improve cardiovascular health assessment
The authors of this study developed a single risk score derived from multiple social determinants of health that predicts county-level cardiovascular disease mortality.

BU study: High deductible health plans are widening racial health gaps
The growing Black Lives Matter movement has brought more attention to the myriad structures that reinforce racial inequities, in everything from policing to hiring to maternal mortality.

Electronic health information exchange improves public health disease reporting
Disease tracking is an important area of focus for health departments in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

E-health resource improves men's health behaviours with or without fitness facilities
Men who regularly used a free web resource made significantly more health changes than men who did not, finds a new study from the University of British Columbia and Intensions Consulting.

Mental health outcomes among health care workers during COVID-19 pandemic in Italy
Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and insomnia among health care workers in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic are reported in this observational study.

Mental health of health care workers in china in hospitals with patients with COVID-19
This survey study of almost 1,300 health care workers in China at 34 hospitals equipped with fever clinics or wards for patients with COVID-19 reports on their mental health outcomes, including symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia and distress.

Health records pin broad set of health risks on genetic premutation
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Marshfield Clinic have found that there may be a much broader health risk to carriers of the FMR1 premutation, with potentially dozens of clinical conditions that can be ascribed directly to carrying it.

Attitudes about health affect how older adults engage with negative health news
To get older adults to pay attention to important health information, preface it with the good news about their health.

Read More: Health News and Health Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to