P1 New hospital won’t fix healthcare “Don’t get seriously ill in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. It could be the last thing you ever do,” is the lead on a feature story in the Honolulu Advertiser about Majuro hospital. Are people exaggerating the problems when they criticize the old hospital and don’t see much improvement in the new multi-million dollar facility which will open later in the year? Dr. Neal Palafox, who knows the problems perhaps better than most, said the issue is not to blame people but to deal with Marshallese expectations about the new hospital and healthcare in general. “It’s no secret that present structure of healthcare here is in bad shape,” he said. “The private sector and the government must realize that the opening of the new hospital won’t solve all health problems in the Marshalls. In fact, it could create more if not looked into.” Why? Quite simply because healthcare here is grossly under-funded. The Ministry of Health is operating on a budget of $4.2 million year. Palafox contends this is barely one-quarter of what health services needs to function adequately. It is not alone a Nitijela funding problem. The US has saddled the Marshall Islands with an expensive healthcare system and is not coming through on the bills. In 1979, embarrassing media coverage in the Hawaii newspapers led to new grants for health services and some specific improvements.
P6 Rainbow Warrior leaves its mark on Majuro The impressive 160-foot Greenpeace ship arrived in Majuro Sunday and was greeted by a group of some 60 people who gave leis to the crew. The ship plans to be in the Marshalls for about a month — spending time in Majuro, Rongelap and Ebeye — before heading south. Irooj Kotak Loeak, Julian Riklon and Jolbo Samuel joined the ship for the voyage from Honolulu. Rainbow Warrior Captain Peter Willcox has skipped the former British government research vessel for Greenpeace since 1981. The crew has taken on government and corporate heavyweights from the Atlanta to the Pacific to stop whale and dolphin slaughtering, to promote a comprehensive nuclear test ban, and to block nuclear waste disposal.
P1 New industry takes root Majuro’s Dry Dock and Slipway is servicing the Micro Palm, its largest ship to date. “The dry dock can handle large ships and it reduces the costs for sending these ships outside the Marshall Islands for dry docking,” said Minister of Transportation and Communications Kunio Lemari.
P1 Hooray! Hooray for the President, the poor man’s friend, you don’t need a necktie…to see him again. For the first time since the government’s capital complex opened in 1993, neckties are not required attire for men to enter the building. President Imata Kabua issued an announcement last week revising the dress code for men, making the use of neckties optional.
P17 Hospital is short of equipment Have you got medical equipment at home which could belong to Majuro hospital? The Ministry of Health is hoping that wheelchairs, sheets, crutches, blankets, towels and utensils will be returned so that the hospital will continue to run efficiently and provide service for all patients.
P21 Marshalls cancer rate alarming The Marshall Islands has a cancer rate much higher than that of the United States, and developing countries, including Palau, according to an American doctor. The “tremendous differences” between the rate of cancer in the US and the Marshall Islands are “alarming,” said Dr. Neal Palafox, a former US Public Health Service physician who worked in the Marshalls from the mid-1980s to 1992. “Comparisons with an Asian country such as Hong Kong, a non-industrialized country such as Uruguay, and the Republic of Palau all show that the Marshall Islands cancer mortality rates are extreme,” said Palafox.
P3 Crowds flock to RMI film Wow! The film “Morning Comes So Soon” grabs you and before you know it, you’re on a roller coaster ride — a love story, excitement and fun turns to crisis, calamity and tears. This is an edgy story that puts racist attitudes of Marshallese toward Chinese — and vice versa — at the center of a love story. Like a mosquito buzzing around your ears at night, racism is a pesky problem but one that most of us ignore as we go about our business. Billed as the first movie made by young actors in the Marshall Islands, Morning Comes So Soon was produced by Small Island Films in conjunction with Youth to Youth in Health. The acting is superb. Ting-Yu Lin plays Mei-Lin and James Bing, III, plays Leban. Both Assumption seniors, they play girlfriend-boyfriend in a relationship that, being in Majuro, is fraught with disaster. Equally brilliant is the acting by the families of the two teenagers. While the story is a familiar Romeo and Juliet theme, it has a local twist as told through the lens of producer/directors Aaron Condon and Mike Cruz.