The Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) in a handing over ceremony this week officially received the Gizo hospital’s COVID-19 isolation facility from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Global Fund provided the financial support through WHO for the establishment of a Tuberculosis Ward, however with the threat of COVID-19 global pandemic, the facility was then upgraded to also cater for COVID-19 patients.

WHO Country Representative Dr. Sevil Huseynova during her speech at the event stated that WHO is pleased to celebrate another success in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic preparedness.

“I am very much pleased to be here with you all today to celebrate one more event of success in our ongoing COVID-19 pandemic preparedness and achieving a resilient and robust health system in Solomon Islands. 

“In Solomon Islands there is an estimate of 500 new TB cases per year with a mortality rate of 8 deaths per 100,00 population. In 2018 391 and 2019 356 cases. For Western Province there was a total of 42 new cases thus significant need for TB isolation ward which WHO with funding support from Global Fund are pleased to provide”, explained Dr. Huseynova.

She added, now with the threat of COVID-19 WHO is pleased that the facility is now upgraded to also accommodate COVID-19 patients.

“With this facility and the GeneXpert machine, all patients with COVID-19, TB and other infectious diseases can be tested and isolated at the Gizo Hospital. A great achievement indeed for all of us”.

The WHO Representative congratulated the government and partners for the tremendous work done.

Delivering MHMS remarks at the event, Health Minister Hon. Dr Culwick Togamana highlighted that this generation has in the last 8 months experienced one of the most unprecedented health pandemic.

“The COVID-19 virus pandemic unfortunately is much more than health crises. It is also an unprecedented socio-economic crisis. Government ministries have temporarily laid off public servants and the State of National Public Health Emergency has been extended for another 4 months with no way of knowing when normality will return”, stated Dr. Togamana.

Premier of Western Province Honorable David Gina acknowledged the support from donors and development partners for the establishment of the COVID-19 isolation ward.

“These are the kinds of development the provincial government would like to see, those that touch the lives of the rural populace in western province and we are optimistic that the isolation ward which can also accommodate patients with other infectious diseases can be safely accommodated”.

The premier also highlighted that the province recently had recorded spike in tuberculosis or pulmonary cases at its hospital thus the facility will also greatly assist in containing any spread of such infectious diseases while they are being cared for by the health workers.

He urged all medical workers who will be tasked to man the ward to take good care of it: “To our Gizo hospital staff and patients who will be using these facilities, please ensure we take good care of it and render the relevant respect and value that is due.

"These sorts of initiatives just do not materialize out of thin air. They are the result of peoples’ sweat, hard-earned money, resources, endless negotiations and sleepless nights. The least we can do to show our appreciation is by taking good care of it and ensuring it serves the purpose it is intended for”.

Joint Press Statement: MHMS, WHO and Western Provincial Government