A week- long workshop to review progress and update on key essential documents necessary for the implementation of the Ministry of Health and Medical Service’s (MHMS) Health Promoting Village Project has commenced on Tuesday this week in Honiara.
The Health Promoting Village or Healthy Village Project is an initiative by MHMS with support from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to develop a sustainable and scalable model for healthy village, which addresses preventable health issues such as malaria, Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and promotes healthy lifestyles such as clean environment, nutrition, etc.
The review, which is the 3rd round of review since the commencement of the project in 2016 aims to capture the ongoing progress of the project across the country including challenges and proposed solutions moving forward, and to review and update the working draft of the healthy village manual, facilitators guide and the training curricular.
In his remarks at the opening of the workshop, Resident Representative of JICA Mr Motoyuki Uegaki acknowledged the leadership and cooperation of the Ministry of Health.
“ I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the Permanent Secretary of Health Mrs Pauline McNeil, Deputy Secretary Health Improvement Dr Nemia Bainivalu for the leadership and support towards this project as well as all those engaged in the project, especially health promotion officers both at the national and provincial level”, stated Mr Uegaki.
He explained that the project though challenging especially with its approach that integrates various health programs such as Malaria, Nutrition, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs), let alone the impact of COVID-19 on implementation rate, great progress has been made and that the project is now reaching its final months of completion.
“Thus the 3rd round of review workshop is critical towards the updating and finalization of all relevant technical documents including progress monitoring framework for the project to ensure continuity, upscale and sustainability after its life-span come June 2021”, highlighted Mr Uegaki.
In delivering the key- note address to open the workshop, MHMS Supervising Deputy Secretary for Public Health Mr Michael Larui acknowledged the funding and technical support rendered towards the project by the government of Japan through JICA. “Your support towards this project is greatly appreciated and has played a significant role towards the great progress the project has made overtime and across the country. More importantly the technical expertise engaged in this project have also significantly contributed towards local capacity which is critical for continuation and sustainability of this program across the country”, explained Mr. Larui.
He added that the integrative approach model of the project incorporating promotion of healthy lifestyles and preventative measures for various health issues could serve as a potential platform to efficiently and effectively deliver health services across the country especially at the rural areas where many of the country’s population are.
In defining the levels of service and their service delivery packages in the Role Delineation Policy (RDP), Mr Larui stated the importance of the establishment of community centres, which is responsible largely for population, based integrated services such as self-care, healthy lifestyle, counselling for non-communicable diseases, health promotion, education and prevention activities.
“It is under this level of service that the village health promoting project is relevant and one that the MHMS through the health promotion division must ensure its progress and sustainability” Mr Larui said.
Mr Larui highlighted that there remains many challenges especially in providing various health services to the people and the approach undertaken by the project to collaborate and engage communities to take lead prevention measures will greatly contribute towards the realization of the MHMS vision which is “the people of Solomon Islands will be happy, healthy and productive”, Mr Larui stated.
The healthy village project to date has reached 15 communities 6 in Guadalcanal and 9 in Makira Ulawa province with plans in place for upscale.
More on the impact of the project on the communities to be released soon.