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Churches and the government come together in the Solomon Islands

In the Solomon Islands it’s estimated that only half of all deaths are officially recorded. In order to have the death officially recorded, families must report the death to a nurse so that it can be registered, and the cause of death investigated.

Nearly every village has a Church that officiates almost all burials, which includes deaths that have not been recorded by health professionals. Here, we saw a chance to implement a notification strategy that would allow the Church to pass on information to the health centre.

Kakabona

Cemetery in Kakabona  © by Phenss

On August 1 st representatives from the member churches of the Solomon Islands Christian Association (SICA) met with officials from the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to discuss how to improve the number of deaths that are notified to local health facilities.

The workshop agreed to trial some approaches to improve community awareness about death notification.
Awareness approaches include; producing posters to be placed in churches, organising announcements to be read out or updates included in church bulletins. They also plan to test a burial notification form which churches can submit to nurses.

The workshop is part of a wider effort to strengthen the birth and death registration system in the Solomon Islands, supported by the World Health Organization and the Bloomberg Data for Health Initiative/University of Melbourne.

Matt Reeves

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