Solomon Islands Health Minister, Hon. Dr Culwick Togamana during the handover ceremony of the High Dependency Unit at National Referral Hospital (NRH) thanked the Australian Government for its ongoing support towards the Health System of the country.

The Minister, Dr. Togamana, highlighted in his keynote address that Australia not only supported the country during the pandemic and post-pandemic times, but their ongoing investments and strong partnership with the Ministry of Health were very much visible, with the ultimate common goal of improving health outcomes.

"The ongoing development of the Naha Birthing Center is an essential investment. With the establishment of this facility and upon its operations, we will witness significant relief for the labor and postnatal ward of the national referral hospital and resolve many of our bed management challenges and reduction of referrals," said Dr. Togamana.

"Honorable Deputy Prime Minister, this is a flagship project between our two governments, and I look forward to officially launching and opening this new facility once it is completed," added Dr. Togamana.

He also mentioned the twinning arrangements with Australian hospitals for our doctors and nurses and expressed hope that the allied health workers through the Australian Volunteers International (AVI) program would provide a great opportunity for the health workforce. This would allow local doctors and nurses to learn new skills and knowledge in managing and caring for sick patients.

He further acknowledged the Australian Government for responding promptly to some of our recent, urgent, and immediate health needs. Upon requests to the Australian Government, they immediately stepped in and responded in a timely manner.

"This included the immediate airlifting of our emergency drugs and supplies, the provision of SBD4.5m to support the Measles and Rubella Supplementary Immunisation Activity (MR SIA) campaign that will commence in July 2023, and the provision of SBD14.8 million for a second Mass Drug Administration (MDA) round for scabies in our country during the year."

"As the country's largest and single health donor of health assistance to Solomon Islands, my Ministry is ready to work in true partnership with the Government of Australia to realize our shared common vision of achieving health outcomes and fulfilling the efforts and implementation of the current National Health Strategic Plan 2022-2031," said Dr. Togamana.

He outlined other support made by the Australian Government, including the improvement of our Bio Molecular Laboratory facilities at the National Referral Hospital, Munda Helena Goldie Hospital, and Taro.

"Furthermore, the positioning of our mortuary container fridges at the National Referral Hospital, Gizo Hospital, Kiluufi Hospital, Helena Goldie Hospital, Nila Area Health Centre fencing and Solar Power and Staff House at Nila, NRH Generator Automatic Switch Upgrade, and of course, the establishment of the High Dependency Unit here at the National Referral Hospital," further outlined Dr. Togamana.

"With this partnership, I look forward to our collective efforts, actions, and renewed dedication and commitment, as we are equally serious about serving the public and saving the lives of our people. I am confident that we will continue to push the boundaries of care and improve healthcare outcomes for our people," said Dr. Togamana.

Deputy Prime Minister of Australia and Minister for Defence, Hon. Richard Marles, stated that Australia is committing SBD4.4 million to the MHMS to implement the nationwide Measles and Rubella Supplementary Immunization Activity, which will cover the immunization of 75,000 children around the country.

"It's a really important contribution to the health system of Solomon Islands and the health of Solomon Islanders."

"A country is unable to enjoy its full potential without a healthy population, which is why we are so focused on the assistance that we provide to the countries of the Pacific, and to Solomon Islands, on the question of health and the health system," DPM Marles said.


Source: Press Release, Ministry of Health and Medical Services