Consistent and timely updates and sharing of information between national and provincial health teams with opportunities to engage in real time discussions is crucial for swift decision-making and actions particularly with the ongoing COVID-19 preparedness and response efforts including COVID-19 vaccination roll out.

This will very soon become a reality for the Ministry of Health following the delivery of 12 brand new video conferencing systems valued at AUD65,500 (approximately SBD384, 073) by the Australian High Commission on Thursday this week.

Counsellor for Human Development Ms. Julie McCallum, in handing over the systems, highlighted that Australia is very pleased to continue supporting the Ministry of Health in its current efforts against COVID-19.

“The rapid procurement and delivery of these 12 video conferencing systems following an urgent request from health demonstrates our commitment towards supporting Solomon Islands in its efforts against COVID-19 and overall towards the friendship and partnership between our countries”

“We hope that these systems will enhance communications to strengthen current work on COVID-19 preparedness and response including roll out of COVID-19 vaccines as well as ensuring there is a communication mechanism in place to support all other health core business”, said Ms McCullum.

In response, the Health Permanent Secretary Mrs. Pauline McNeil thanked the Government of Australia for the swift response to the need of the Ministry to strengthen linkages with its provincial teams.

“Since the start of our COVID-19 operations, we have relied heavily on weekly updates submitted via emails by our provincial health directors and their teams. Any urgent follow ups are done through SMS and phone calls. However these do not allow for real time discussions and more importantly in a group setting which is important for effective information sharing, sharing of good practices, lessons learnt and so forth.

“With these video conferencing systems that will be deployed to our provincial health teams, having everyone, the MHMS Senior Executive Management and Provincial Health Executives together virtually in one room, will greatly boost our current efforts against COVID-19 and current priority to reach 90 percent COVID-19 vaccination coverage. So thank you Australia for your great support in this space”, stated Mrs, McNeil.

Following the deployment of the systems to the provinces, the Ministry will work with the Australian High Commission to see which provinces may require enhanced internet connectivity to ensure that all systems are functioning correctly and are enabled for their purpose.

Source: Joint Media Release