Partner aid contributing to the Solomon Islands health services
Last Thursday, the Minister for Health and Medical Services (MHMS) Dickson Mua said SBD$44 million of the $71million provided by the Australian government would benefit all the provinces including Honiara.
Specifically in relation to health matters and health services, Minister Mua said, “Improving the laboratory and other health services is quite important in our preparation towards COVID-19.”
He said the health assistance would also include church-run hospitals in rural areas.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Mrs Pauline McNeil had earlier said that all provincial health facilities would be looked at including those that had not been addressed to date including Tulagi Hospital in the Central Islands Province and Buala Hospital in Isabel Province.
Mrs. McNeil said the government would also want to go beyond provincial hospitals to the rural health centres such as Manuapo in the reef islands, Atoifi in Malaita province, and other church-run hospitals in the country.
On Saturday, the Ministry of Health and Medical services took delivery of several GeneXpert testing cartridges to allow for testing for COVID-19 in the Solomon Islands.
GeneXpert Testing Cartridges Will Enable COVID-19 Testing in Solomon Islands.
The specialised cartridges, which had been developed specifically for COVID-19, can be used in existing GeneXpert testing machines.
Solomon Islands already has ten GeneXpert machines, including in some provinces, which are normally used to detect tuberculosis.
Australia and New Zealand each contributed about SBD 5 million and the Pacific Community and the Pacific Islands Health Officer’s Association each contributed about SBD 4 million to WHO to procure and deliver the GeneXpert testing equipment across the Pacific through a specialised humanitarian corridor.
The WHO has said In-country testing capability is vital for effective COVID-19 management. This includes critical and early detection of the virus that will be essential to preventing widespread transmission. Effective testing is one essential component which the Ministry of Health is focusing on, in addition to improved surveillance systems and clinical management of COVID.”
In a separate development last Friday, and yet more evidence of Australia’s hands on support for the Solomon Islands government, the Australian High Commissioner Dr Lachlan Strahan officially handed over two special-built pre-fabricated units to the Minister for Health and Medical Services at a ceremony at Henderson Airport.
According to reports, the construction of the units is another concrete demonstration of Australia’s ongoing commitment to boost Solomon Islands’ COVID-19 preparedness and response effort.
The two units, built locally by Island Enterprises, and costing a total of SBD$1.3 million, provide residential-style accommodation and each fits four people. As agreed by the Ministry of Communication and Aviation, the units have been located close to Henderson International Airport to be used by the Government for quarantine.
The site includes the option to expand, enabling surge quarantine capacity for up to 50 people in tent facilities if required. Power, water and sanitation facilities have been built to cater for this additional capacity.
In quite separate news but one relating to health issues in relation to drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (MEHRD) Dr. Franco Rodie told school principals, leaders and education authorities during a one day workshop last Thursday of the importance of WASH in schools, stressing the importance for child health, wellbeing, education, and development outcomes.
“The importance of WASH in schools is recognized through international policy agendas, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and in local and national policies, such as the Solomon Islands National Standards for WASH in schools,” Dr. Rodie said
He said it was for this reason that this workshop was conducted to assist school head and education authority to prepare their school’s plan in order to respond to a threat posed by COVID-19.
The National Disaster Operation Committee for Education and Health organized the important workshop.