“Not often do I have the chance to visit provincial health facilities, its workers and patients as I have my Deputy Secretary responsible for this regard, but once i have the opportunity i always ensure i do and it’s always beneficial for me to listen to first-hand information from those on the ground themselves."

The Health Permanent Secretary Mrs Pauline McNeil made this statement at the Buala hospital whilst paying a visit there Monday this week. Both Mrs McNeil and Ivan Ghemu, Director Policy and Planning of Health were in Buala Isabel for the launching of the COVID-19 vaccination roll out program for Isabel and used the opportunity to visit the hospital.

At the hospital, the Health PS visited the various hospital departments, laboratory, surgical, neo-natal, medical, pharmacy and so forth spending time listening to the staff there and jotting down notes for necessary follow up actions upon return.

During her visit, she requested the hospital staff to not be afraid, but openly and truthfully talk about their stories, capacities and capabilities, including shortfalls, challenges and issues that requires immediate actions and planning to address in the future.

“There is no doubt that like many other health facilities around the country there is great need to improve and more work to be done with regards to infrastructure, equipment, capacities and capabilities. However such opportunities like these where we meet face to face, let’s make use of it to share with me so in my capacity as the Permanent Secretary together with my team at the Ministry can work to our best to provide you with the support you need”, said Mrs. McNeil.

She also highlighted during the hospital visit that with limited development budget from the government understandably due to COVID-19, the Ministry is also looking into strategic integration of health programs and projects including mobilization of funds from various health departments to efficiently address development activities. These includes, improvement of infrastructure and provision and decentralization of specialist equipment to Buala hospital including other hospitals around the country.

“However the most important thing is for all of us to share information, maintain good communication between national and provincial health teams so that timely actions can be undertaken for urgent matters”, explained Mrs. McNeil.

The Permanent Secretary was also impressed with the level of experience and qualifications of staff st the various departments within the hospital stating that this is very important as it will also guide and inform the ministry in its work to deploy medical and specialist equipment to the provinces.

“ I thank you all as I can see that you have worked very hard with limited resources and yet manage to continue to serve the health needs of our people in Isabel to the best of your ability. My visit here is purposely to see for myself and listen to first-hand information on what’s happening here at Buala hospital and thank you indeed for the information provided surely will help in decision making and actions at national ministry level”, said PS McNeil.

Before departing the hospital she also had brief chat with mothers and babies presenting at the hospital for post – natal follow ups.

Following the hospital visit, the PS was taken to the Waste Management site of the hospital, which is around 30-45 minutes- drive outside of the provincial capital before heading back to Buala and to Honiara.

Source: MHMS media release