The Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) have sent an infrastructure manager, a biomedical officer and two environmental health officers to the Western border.

This is in preparation for the country’s full border reopening at the end of July 2022. The Health team are part of ongoing efforts to strengthen health systems and facilities at the Western border, focusing on COVID-19 preparedness, response, and business continuity planning.

The Health team will also look at strengthening collaboration between health and provincial government in priority development areas, complete site assessment and community engagement and awareness of proposed developments.

Over the weekend, an assessment of staff housing and health quarantine station at Kulitanai in the Shortland was completed as well as an assessment of Nila Area Health Centre level 1 isolation wards and quarantine station.

The assessments and discussion with key partners on the ground including communities is crucial to further inform health as to how it will proceed with its intentions to further strengthen capacity and capabilities of health facilities and workers in Shortland to respond with possible 3rd wave of COVID-19 as borders will reopen next month but also in preparation for any future outbreaks of infectious diseases.

Today the team was in Taro, Choiseul province where they met with the provincial health team and Choiseul Provincial Government to strengthen collaboration with provincial governments on priority proposed developments including re-development and improvement plans for Taro hospital.

Tomorrow onwards the team will be conducting an assessment to develop an enhanced service package for the Sasamunga Area Health Centre including relocation of some clinical services once the redevelopment of Taro hospital is underway.

Last leg of their tour in will be at Wagina, Choiseul province to assess the new site for the Wagina Area Health Centre with community consultation with the Gilbertese community there.

Outcome of these assessments, consultations and awareness carried out by the team will see in the not too distant future, improved health infrastructure and facilities, equipped with necessary medical drugs and consumables including an enhanced capacity and capabilities of health workers to respond to outbreaks and deliver normal health services.

The deployment was made possible through World Bank funding support to health to respond to COVID-19 and strengthen health systems.

Source: MHMS Media