The Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) and the Guadalcanal Provincial (GP) Health Authority, together with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Australian High Commission officially opened a refurbished integrated safe space at the Good Samaritan Hospital (GSH).

The space is to treat and care for survivors of Gender Based Violence (GBV). The refurbishment materials were procured by WHO with funding support from the Government of Australia under its partnership agreement, while the refurbishment work was implemented by Guadalcanal provincial health authorities in-line with their facility management plans.

Guadalcanal Provincial Health Director Dr Joel Denty at the opening expressed sincere appreciation to WHO and the government of Australia for the respective technical and funding support provided.

“Having an integrated health service in a safe space for survivors of GBV will greatly address many of the challenges encountered by health workers which includes the inability of health workers to holistically attend to GBV survivors and the survivors difficulty to timely access all necessary services due to their availability in different locations. This has all changed as of today therefore a very big thank you to the Ministry of Health, Australian government and WHO”, explained Dr Denty.

In her remarks, WHO Representative Dr Sevil Huseynova stated, “We are indeed pleased to have supported this initiative as the impact of Gender Based Violence on survivors are very serious and range from physical, sexual and reproductive and mental health as well as on their personal and social-wellbeing. Health services if can be accessed in time, can provide critical time sensitive interventions to treat and care for survivors of gender based violence”.

Dr Huseynova also highlighted that over the past five years, WHO have supported advancement of health system response to gender based violence with normative work, capacity building and technical assistance. “Our work incorporates issues of violence into clinical training curricula, strengthening health systems to support women through direct services and multi-sectoral responses, identifying key entry points such as sexual and reproductive health services and mental health services for addressing violence and scaling up appropriate post rape care response”.

Dr Huseynova acknowledged and thanked the Government of Australia for the funding support and commended the collaborative efforts with the Ministry of Health and Medical Services and the Guadalcanal provincial health that had significantly contributed towards the completion of the clinic.

Julie McCallum, Counsellor for Human Development representing the Australian High Commission said that Australia was pleased to partner with WHO to support the refurbishment of the HIV/STI clinic and family planning services. The new space would help to integrate treatment and care of survivors of Gender Based Violence (GBV).

“Violence against women and girls is not just a problem in the Solomon Islands or the Pacific region, it is a global issue,” said Ms McCallum.

“The establishment of an integrated safe space at the Good Samaritan Hospital ensures that vulnerable women and girls in the outskirts of Guadalcanal also receive the much-needed support and services’’.

“This project complements Australia’s support to the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs and UN Women to address and respond to gender based violence, as well as broader support to the Ministry of Health through the Health Sector Program,” she said.

Supervising Deputy Secretary, Public Health Mr Michael Larui explained that the safe space is a significant progress in light of the ministry’s Role Delineation Policy (RDP).

The Role Delineation Policy sets out the path for health service provision across the country in support of the objectives of the National Health Strategic Plan and the ultimate goal of achieving Universal Health Coverage for the people.

“As such, I join the health director of Guadalcanal province to express the Ministry’s sincere appreciation towards WHO and the Australian government for the support received”, stated Mr Larui.

Source: Joint Press Release