Acting Australian High Commissioner Sally-Anne Vincent handed over an outboard motor, a boat, and a vehicle to Provincial Health Authorities while visiting Lata in Temotu last week. The equipment will help to strengthen the province’s health services preparedness and response to COVID-19.
The equipment, costing just under SBD $410,000, is part of the Australian Government’s SBD $48 million COVID support package to the Solomon Islands Government health agencies delivered earlier this year. The Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) earmarked SBD $13 million of this funding to support COVID-19 preparedness and response activities in the provinces.
Acting High Commissioner Vincent formally handed over the boat, OBM and vehicle to the Supervising Provincial Health Director for Temotu, Dr Morris Tealiki, in a ceremony at Hospital Compound in Lata.
Acting High Commissioner Vincent said Australia was pleased to enable Provincial Health Facilities such as Lata Hospital prepare for COVID-19.
“We are proud to be working together with the Ministry of Health and Provincial Health Authorities across the country as they step-up to help prevent the spread of a potential COVID-19 outbreak,” Acting High Commissioner Vincent said.
“This vehicle and boat will be used to carry out community outreach and awareness programs on COVID-19 across Temotu. It will also be used to transport patients and staff in the event of a potential case of COVID-19 in the province.
“This support is a demonstration of Australia’s commitment to Solomon Islands as it strengthens the frontline in the fight against the pandemic.”
Dr Tealiki thanked the Acting High Commissioner for the financial support to purchase the much-needed equipment.
“The assistance comes at a crucial time in reinforcing our resources to ensure we can do our duties effectively,” said Dr Tealiki.
“The boat and the vehicle will boost the mobility of health workers here in Lata to effectively deliver community awareness programs in the wider community so people have more information on COVID. We are very grateful for the assistance, thank you to the Australian Government.”
Australia has provided long term support to the health sector in Solomon Islands, with the Health Sector Support Program currently in the third phase of implementation (2016-2021).
Under this program, Australia makes a substantial contribution of around SBD $63 million annually to the Solomon Islands Government, which is focused on improved primary health services. 44 per cent (SBD $28 million) of this annual funding from Australia is transferred as a grant to support provincial health service delivery. Other funding is used to purchase essential medical equipment, and for the training of doctors, nurses and public health officials at the frontline of health service delivery across Solomon Islands.
Australian High Commission Media