Current Doctor Crisis On Majuro And Need For Change  Bottom

  • Are readers (are there still any?) of Yokwe Forums aware of the current severe doctor shortage at the Majuro hospital? You can read some of the details at http://www.pina…081b58a8bea4e2.

    The current issue of Marshall Islands Journal has several articles and comments on the problem. The doctor shortage is now so severe that, by end of this year, there will be no surgeons’ resident on Majuro unless something changes. In response, the Ministry of Health is reportedly seeking to recruit Marshallese doctors to return to Majuro and looking to outside charitable organizations, like Canvasback, to arrange for physicians to work on Majuro, on rotational basis.

    And yet, buried in a single sentence in the Journal is the fact that the hospital on Ebeye, where I believe living conditions are (by most measures) worse than on Majuro, is not having a problem retaining recruited physicians and surgeons. Clearly, there is something critically different on Majuro, vice Ebeye, in the way doctors are being treated and in working conditions in the respective hospitals. But, is the Government seeking to identify what the differences are and to address them? Based on articles in the Journal (and info in the link above), the answer is “no.” Such an assessment, if properly executed, would cause Marshallese Government officials to make a critical assessment on job performance by other Marshallese and would require Marshallese to hold those who are failing to do their jobs accountable and to make needed changes (in policies and, yes, in staffing – fire people who deserve to be fired).

    Giff Johnson has published a commentary on poverty and related societal issue in the Marshall Islands; you can read at http://pacificp…-hand-in-hand/. Giff notes many of the efforts made by outside agencies to bring about change, with little apparent impact. Giff’s conclusion: “Still, a key point for the country is that money is not the primary problem for addressing poverty and development needs. Resources are available (in fact, virtually every year, the ministries of Education and Health do not spend all of the funding they receive from the U.S. government). The critical challenge has been political will to reform the government’s policy framework to address the changing economic environment in the country, and the management and performance of the government sector, which drives the economy.”

    When, if ever, will the Marshall Islands Government attain the political will needed to initiated meaningful reforms? I believe that as long as foreign assistance donors and NGOs like Canvasback enable band-aid temporary solutions, no meaningful change will occur in the Marshall Islands, in the health sector or in any other.

    Today, the best assistance outsiders could provide to the Marshall Islands Government is to tell the Marshall Islands Government that no further outside assistance available.



    Edited by pettittm on Dec 22, 2013 - 11:24 PM.

    “I hope the signing of the LUA (Land Use Agreement) allows the Government of the Marshall Islands more time to focus on the biggest issues it faces – how to raise the level of education and health of the Marshallese people and how to create an economy that will be stable after direct US funding ends in 2023.”
    US Ambassador to the Marshall Islands Martha Campbell, as quoted by MI Journal, 13 May 2011, pg 4
  • One quick clarification.

    Not suggesting Canvasback and other groups do not continue support. I am suggesting support not be expanded.

    The RMI Ministry of Health has plenty of funds to address the issues identified by Journal - poor treatment, filthy conditions ("smells like old wounds," no money for mops or cleaning solution), all bathrooms in hospital locked. How would you like to rely on any such hospital thus characterized?

    Not mentioned but commented in Journal many times in past is failure of hospital to maintain even basic medical supplies and drugs in stock. I suspect this also was very discouraging to professionals trying to save lives and address illnesses.

    Any group that reacts to RMI request to provide staff surgeons and other health professionals for Majuro hospital is enabling the RMI to "maintain" a hospital described in such horrific terms. Personally, I would not want on my conscience that I enabled RMI to ignore conditions that caused so many health professionals to leave. I hope Canvasback and other groups carefully consider if they are really helping the Marshallese people if their response to request for help enables the RMI to continue such practices as locked bathrooms and filthy conditions in Majuro hospital.



    Edited by pettittm on Dec 24, 2013 - 07:42 AM.

    “I hope the signing of the LUA (Land Use Agreement) allows the Government of the Marshall Islands more time to focus on the biggest issues it faces – how to raise the level of education and health of the Marshallese people and how to create an economy that will be stable after direct US funding ends in 2023.”
    US Ambassador to the Marshall Islands Martha Campbell, as quoted by MI Journal, 13 May 2011, pg 4
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