NRH TB Ward upgraded to 16 Self-Contained Room Isolation Ward

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The previous Tuberculosis Ward at the west wing of the National Referral Hospital (NRH) is now upgraded to meet strict isolation requirement fitting to manage infectious diseases including COVID-19 with formal transfer to NRH yesterday.

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(L-R back) Health Minster Hon. Dr Culwick Togamana & PRC Ambassador Li Ming cutting ribbon to open the newly refurbished isolation ward at NRH with Dr Gregory Jilini, Supervising PS and Dr George Malefoasi, NRH CEO (Front row).

This new development adds to the current efforts of the hospital to upgrade its capabilities and capacity to effectively and efficiently serve the health needs of the people with quality and comfortability.

Thanks to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) for the funding support that enabled the upgrade. The isolation ward was formally handed over by PRC to the Ministry of Health and NRH in a brief ceremony.

In his opening remarks at the start of the event, NRH’s Chief Executive Officer Dr George Malefoasi stated that the project represents the passion and commitment to health and the government’s holistic approach to support and improve the health care of the country.

 “What used to be a TB ward is now a 16 self- contained rooms with the ability to manage infectious diseases including COVID-19 with its strict admission standard operating procedures and air-condition system to ensure comfortability of its patients”, stated Dr Malefoasi.

He added that with limited resources the hospital is working hard to maximize every single space within its infrastructure and compound to expand and improve its services for the people. “In the last six months Jan to June 2021 we have experienced a total of 42, 096 patient days with 6,934 actual admissions at the NRH. This reflects the high demand by the public for the services that we provide. Hence such upgrades are very important”.

People’s Republic of China Ambassador to Solomon Islands Mr Li Ming in his remarks highlighted that COVID-19 is still ravaging the world and the situation with neighbouring countries to Solomon Islands is concerning.

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 “Therefore upon receiving the request from the Ministry of Health to upgrade the TB ward to an isolation ward, we responded immediately. This shows our commitment towards the health cooperation between China and Solomon Islands, genuine friendship between our two countries and our commitment and continued support to Solomon Islands in such difficult times”, said the Ambassador.

For over a year, China has provided assistance in a wide range of areas to help Solomon Islands in its fight against the pandemic. These includes infrastructure like the first nucleic acid testing laboratory, COVID-19 testing machine, as well as a large number of medical supplies such as PPEs, test kits and COVID-19 vaccines.

“I am pleased to note that Sinopharm vaccine roll out is progressing well with no serious side effects to date and we also join the government to call on everyone 18 years and above to come forward and get vaccinated. That said, China remains committed towards the health cooperation with the Solomon Islands Government”, stated Mr. Li Ming.

“Action speaks louder than words. China’s vaccine assistance to Solomon Islands is sincere and there is no any conditions attached. China never pursues “vaccine diplomacy” and has no intention to compete with any other country on vaccine assistance. Instead, China urges all countries of capabilities to make ensure vaccines are accessible and affordable in developing countries and become a global public good.” Ambassador Li added.

In his response, Health Minister Hon. Dr Culwick Togamana highlighted that the handing over of the completed isolation ward at NRH marks another milestone in current efforts of health to build its capabilities and local capacity to strengthen preparedness and response imminent COVID-19 threat.

“ While discussions are underway to determine short to long term use of the facility, whatever the case, the facility will build the capacity of NRH with regulated environment to enable the isolation and containment of further infections from patients infected with COVID-19 or any other infectious diseases thereafter”,

“As such, thank you Your Excellency Ambassador Li Ming for funding this project. Our diplomatic relationship with People’s Republic of China only begun in late 2019 but we have already experienced great benefit from this partnership in the health sector”, said Dr Togamana.

The Health Minister also announced PRC’s commitment to provide further assistance on Sinopharm vaccine doses on request, agree to provide financial assistance to refurbish and upgrade the NRH maternity ward and sending of 3-specialist team to the country with specific mission to develop an MOU to upgrade NRH Cardiac Centre. “No words can truly express our heart- felt thanks for your continuous assistance in this short while”, said Dr Togamana.

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