Will the boost in financial assistance from China and contingency financing from the ADB see an intensive care unit built and equipped at the NRH?
Solomon Island’s Minister of Finance and Treasury, Hon. Harry Kuma this week announced that the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Board has approved a contingency financing amendment total of US$6 million to support the Solomon Islands Government in its preparedness and response commitments to the COVID-19 pandemic under its Pacific Disaster Resilience Program (PDRP).
It has been reported the ADB Board made the approval on Monday 13th April following a request by Minister Kuma to extend the grant and credit facility under the Pacific Disaster Resilience Program, approved in December 2017 and to health-related emergency and response due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Minister Kuma stated in a statement said the assistance would help strengthen and boost the Government’s disaster resilience covering the health-related emergency efforts due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a separate development, the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) formally handed over $2.5million (US300k) in a donation to support the country prepare for the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19).
Foreign Affairs and External Trade Minister Jeremiah Manele received the funding support of US$300,000 (SBD2.5m) from Counsellor Yao Ming of the Peoples Republic of China Embassy in Honiara.
Minister Manele told Mr. Ming that Solomon Islands was so privileged to have the kind of assistance from the Peoples Republic of China in such a COVID-19 Pandemic situation.
Yesterday, Thursday, it was announced that the Solomon Islands was the only Pacific country approved by the IMF for debt service relief out of 25 nations.
In effect what this means is that the Solomon Islands will see six months of its debt payments to the IMF cancelled so the country can concentrate on keeping COVID-19 out of the country.
The grant has been given to those countries seen as the poorest and most vulnerable when having to use scarce financial resources towards vital emergency medical and relief efforts.
The U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and a group of 165 former global leaders and prominent international figures had urged the suspension of debt repayments for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable countries so they can use their scant resources for the coronavirus crisis.
Eric LeCompte, executive director of Jubilee USA Network, an alliance of more than 75 U.S. organizations and 700 faith communities working for debt relief, called the IMF announcement “an incredibly positive step.”
In separate news reports Eric LeCompte had said the “incredibly positive step.” of gaining debt relief from the IMF was in recognition that the 25 nations given relief was because that they had inadequate intensive care units.
In the Solomon Islands where the government and the Ministry of Health and Medical Services are working extremely hard to keep Covid -19 out of the country, the fact remains there is not a single intensive care unit at the National Referral Hospital (NRH) to be brought into use should a person in the Solomon Islands develop coronavirus and require long-term specialist treatment in the facility that intensive care units are equipped and staffed to provide.
Will the boost of finance from the PRC and the ADB allow the Ministry of Health and Medical Services to quickly provide an ICU?
As coronavirus is continuing to spread across the world it has been seen that the intensive care unit community has been preparing for the challenges associated with the pandemic. Governments and hospital administrators have had to prepare for a substantial increase in critical care capacity and to offer the best chance of survival to those that have fallen victim to the killer disease.