NZ says $10m SBD budgetary support in the pipeline

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The New Zealand High Commissioner Her Excellency Ms. Georgina Roberts accompanied by Counsellor Kate Bradlow, paid a courtesy visit to the Health Minister Hon Dr Culwick Togamana and Permanent Secretary Mrs. Pauline McNeil.

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At the visit, the New Zealand High Commissioner acknowledged the Ministry’s ongoing efforts under the leadership of the Minister and the Permanent Secretary to prevent community transmission, and maintain the COVID-19 free status for over a month.

“Time is of the essence to ensure roll out the vaccine. The goal is for all the eligible population to receive the vaccine to protect against community transmission. Aotearoa New Zealand is very pleased to support the vaccine roll out with 28,800 AstraZeneca vaccine doses which have been allocated to Solomon Islands through the COVAX facility. These are due to arrive”, said the High Commissioner.

“We are also pleased to contribute additional economic support of some 10 million Solomon Dollars. This will assist Solomon Islands Government in its deployment and roll out of the COVID-19 vaccination plan” Ms Roberts said.

The visit was well received by the Minister Hon. Dr Togamana who used the occasion to express sincere gratitude towards the ongoing support of the government and people of New Zealand with the current COVID-19 vaccination roll out and overall COVID-19 response.

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“We are grateful indeed for the 28,800 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine allocated to Solomon Islands by New Zealand through COVAX which will enable us to move towards the current ultimate goal of vaccinating all persons in the country 18 years and above. Moreover, the ministry is very pleased to note that tremendous support rendered by New Zealand in the overall response of health to COVID-19 pandemic.

Apart from COVID-19 vaccines, health has received from New Zealand an X-ray machine, thousands of pieces of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), hundreds of COVID-19 testing kits, support to obtain GeneXpert cartridges during period of global shortages, refurbishment of 5-bed isolation ward at NRH and budgetary support of NZD 3 million for COVID-19 response.

“Speaking of budgetary support, I’d like to acknowledge the additional new budgetary support of approximately 10 million Solomon Dollars from the government of New Zealand which I understand has been cleared and pending completion of paper work. These funds will be geared towards enhancing work on deployment and vaccination roll out implementation”, stated the Minster.

Discussions at the meeting also extended to health’s aspirations for improvements of health facilities and other future developments, updates on the National Health Strategic Plan 2022 -2026 and utilization of donor funds to date.

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